I am well over five years past the day I reached my goal with Weight Watchers. For five years I have maintained my weight loss. I try to limit my sweets, I don’t drink soda anymore (even diet), I don’t eat a ton of pasta or other high-carb foods…I believe in balance and sure, I will treat myself once in a while but it’s usually made up for with exercise.
And then I get tired. And stressed. And busy. And overwhelmed. And 2009 Gillian starts to talk to me.
“Your meetings went great, you deserve a reward.”
“It’s not that big a deal. You can handle it.”
“You’ll workout tomorrow.”
“Who cares? Go for it.”
And 2009 Gillian likes to rebel against the 2015 me who knows better. There’s this weird thing that happens when I’m having a rough time – stressed, tired, etc – where I make poor choices to “get back” at the healthy me. The same thing happens (back then and still to this day) if my mom ever makes a comment about my food. She’s not doing it with any negative intention, but still my inner voice responds with “Oh yeah? I’ll show you.” And in goes the cake. Or the second glass of wine.
We have a weird relationship with food. Foods that are high in fat and sugar are usually seen as a “reward,” something to be earned and coveted. I nearly always feel worse mentally the minute after I’ve consumed this amazing, desirable treat, and I DEFINITELY feel worse physically the next day. Migraines, digestive issues, skin breakouts…why on earth can’t I remember the after-effects BEFORE I make the choice to eat or drink the offending item?!
My one saving grace on this trip was that I drank my shake for breakfast every morning. And for the first four days I also made decent food choices. But as we rounded the corner to the last two days, I started to slip. I was tired. Our luggage (and my Shakeology) missed the connection to our final city. I was done with being “on” for all the meetings. I didn’t care anymore. Here’s an example of 2009 Gillian influencing my choices at my weakest points: We went to a coffee shop and I ordered a cookie AND a coconut treat. Why on earth did I need TWO things? One would have been treat enough. And guess what? I woke up at 3am the next day with a splitting migraine. Duh.
There is a reason I weighed 230lbs. I was defensive. I was making poor decisions so then it would be MY choice to look and feel that way. I was protecting myself. And that behaviour became habit, so ingrained in my emotional and psychological well-being (or lack thereof) that I couldn’t stop. And still to this day, even though I have developed new habits and new behaviours, there are still days when I go back.
This week was a huge “ah-ha” moment for me. I have watched myself make these choices. I know my triggers. And I also know that whether it’s five years, ten or even thirty, I will still have them. And the best thing I can do is continue to make good choices as often as I can. To keep working at it and to watch for those triggers and put strategies in place to avoid or deal with them.
One of these strategies is making it public. It’s this blog, it’s my Facebook page, and it’s also becoming a coach. By helping others with their own struggles and challenges, I am accountable to them and I owe it to themas well as to myself. And it’s also connecting with the other coaches. By immersing myself in a community of like-minded people all working towards their fitness goals, I feel supported and I’m motivated to keep moving forward.
2009 Gillian, I am on to you. You may have won a couple of rounds this week but you won’t win the whole thing. Because then ultimately, when it comes to our health, confidence, happiness – neither of us would “win.”