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Wednesday, April 9, 2008

Eating Healthy to Eating Poorly..and Back Again

Okay, so over the month from hell, healthy eating waxed and waned. After my wife went into the hospital with pneumonia, some very nice people from our church brought us meals...every day...like 9 days worth...comfort food type meals...with deserts...yummy homemade desserts.

Still, I did pretty good. These were just the dinners. I ate healthy during the day and at dinner, I ate small portions. I also ate a little dessert. This was fine except for two things:

First, I was not yet exercising as much as I had previous to my illness. I still was getting back in the swing of things. Therefore, I was burning less calories and my metabolism was probably not back up to were it was.

Second, the small portions at the start grew larger and larger as the days passed. We had things like lasagna, macaroni and cheese, pot roast, casseroles, etc... I did not keep myself in check very well by the end.

Then came Easter. The is a very meaningful holiday for me. After Church, we all went to an Easter brunch. I over did it a bit even though it was a lousy brunch.

Then, I had a little chocolate and candy.

Then, we went to the in-laws for a couple of days of their cooking.

Then, we went down to Detroit where we ate out quite a bit.

Soon after my wife went into the hospital, I stopped weighing myself. This was not a conscious decision at first. I simply had no time as each day was a mad rush to get myself and the kids ready and get a bazillion other things done. But by the time it got near Easter, I purposely didn't get on the scale because I was fearful of what I would see.

However, I just could not let myself return to my previous lifestyle. During all this I kept exercising and gradually worked my way back to my normal routines. As I discussed in the previous post, things are going very well with running. However, my eating needed to get back on track.

Previous to all the illnesses, I considered adding whey protein to my healthy eating. It's supposed to be good for muscle growth and retention when used with a weight training program. I was unsure exactly how to incorporate it without adding too many calories. I pick up Muscle and Fitness magazine now and then. In one issue they had a diet for fat loss which included the whey protein. I decided to try that and have been pretty much on track ever since.

I am not sure how they whey is helping me, but I bought two large bags from Sam's club and will reevaluate when they are gone. Although, I am not quite sure what criteria to use to evaluate it (I am such a moron). As far as the diet goes, my plan has been to use it for 4 weeks, so I get a better feel for how to incorporate the whey. After that, I may drop the M&F plan and incorporate the whey into my previous approach to healthy eating, or stick with the M&F plan, or work out some modified form. The only thing I really don't like about the M&F plan is that there is very little fruit.

Anyhow, that's what happened. On vacation, I lost weight. With everything that happened last month, I lost a month. Things could have been much worse. I can't tell you exactly why I let things go, I have certainly dealt with increased stress before and managed fine.

Two reasons come to mind.
One is that I had not planned to deal with such a situation, and so without the planning was ill-equipped to deal with it.

Second, I think that meals we were given made me feel like I had permission to repeatedly indulge. I always gave myself permission to indulge occasionally. Somehow receiving the generosity of others in the form of comfort foods removed the occasionally aspect.

Finally, I can't tell you what exactly snapped me out of it. In the past when I have stopped dieting, it was a like watching a train wreck. I knew I shouldn't, but I did it anyways. I even had that same feeling this time. I could tell you all the reasons that went through my mind as to why I needed to return to healthy eating, but I had all those before and failed. I guess what was new this time is that this journey is not strictly about weight loss, it is about fitness. Also, there was the upcoming race. Also, there was the talk I had recently given to my Kiwanis club. Also, there are you, my blogging friends, even if many of you are just lurkers. So many of you have been routing for me, encouraging me, and tell my you have been inspired by me. Perhaps, it was all this and more, but I thank God that I am back to living a fit lifestyle.

I am not sure how I will deal with it if something similar happens again. Maybe, it's simply part of the ebb and flow of life. There will be time when eating healthy gets thwarted and the trick is to figure out how to compensate and look for ways to get back on track as soon as possible. What I have realized as a result of writing this post is that I lost sight of self-respect. I just went back and reread this post. I should read this post once a week. I guess this is all part of the learning process.

It's funny. Running on a level surface is the easiest. You last longer and have a faster pace. If you run on a hilly course, you tire out quicker and run slower. Running up the hills sucks and can be painful but most certainly gets you winded. The downhills all seem way too short. In the long run, the hilly course will make you a better, faster runner who runs for a longer time. I guess this is a good metaphor for life (Have I become a running geek?). Even though I am not happy about the lack of progress (weight loss) in a month, in the long run, I will be a better trekker on this journey of fitness.

Living Fit Is My #1 Job!

6 comments:

chickengirl said...

Good for you for getting back on the wagon!

Sayre said...

Those little steps will get you up the hill!

Congratulations on climbing back on. It can be so hard, I know. But you have lots of people who depend on you, and you recognize, I think, that the only way they can REALLY depend on you if if you take care of yourself. That includes the running and the healthy eating. The weight loss will follow.

cmae said...

I love the running hills metaphor. That was my thought exactly as I was reading your post - that you will be able to figure out how to live fit during the tough times in part because of what you've been through the past month. Each difficult experience gives good information about how to get through the next one. Rock on with your bad self.

BryGuy said...

Considering the month you've had you're doing well. It's not easy to pick yourself back up and getting yourself back on track.....trust me I know!

Good Job.

Nona said...

I think you learnt a valuable lesson : The ebb and flow of life will sometimes pull us off course.

What matters most is not that we get pulled off but how long we stay off. Bringing oneself back sooner rather than later is a real challenge and I'm glad you met that challenge successfully.

Twix said...

Great metaphor! Good for you for getting back on track! :D