Sometimes I feel like I'm some how a fraud, that I'm not living up to the promise of the healthy lifestyle--especially the last few weeks. This week I've sort of gotten back on track with the fitness. I went to the fitness center on Monday and did 30 minutes on the treadmill (apparently WAY overdoing things, oops) and then 40 minutes of strength training. Tuesday I went back and did another 30 minutes on the treadmill (which went a lot better, by the way. I still need to play around with the settings to find the optimal one for my pace, as I'm not sure the work out was quite intense enough, but I didn't feel like a wet noodle when I was done, either). Today I was supposed to do 30 minutes of treadmill and 40 of strength training, and I just couldn't make myself do that. I ended up doing about 25 minutes of my Bollywood dance cardio instead and am wrestling with the feeling that I somehow cheated.
On the upside, the Bollywood dance cardio is a serious workout for my thighs especially--it's a fun work out but leaves my thighs burning, and that's with me skipping the hopping maneuvers which I'm still not allowed to do. So it feels a lot more intense than the treadmill, though I don't know how it compares in terms of calories burned. Still, I didn't strength train.
Even that wouldn't be so bad except that I've also been way off on the food this week, too. Ironically, when I wasn't working out, I did really well on food--I ate within my calorie limits, I had fresh fruit and vegetables and whole grains, etc. I start hauling myself back onto the exercise wagon, intending to work out at least 5 days a week instead of 2, and suddenly I'm hungry All. Day. And making unhealthy food choices--I got into cookies, and chips, and candy. Today I caved in and got Taco Bell, which I've been craving for awhile now--and ended up eating 2,500 calories today as a result (that's really easy to do whenever I eat fast food, unfortunately).
:2, Zanna: 0
It was my decision. I knew it was going to be unhealthy and I did it anyway because I wanted tacos and I didn't want the healthier option. And I think, in the long run, I can live with that decision, just as I can live, even if I'm not entirely happy with it, that the fact that I was hungry Monday and Tuesday meant I ended up eating more than my calorie budget. I am working with accepting the fact that I'm not perfect and I still am balancing my craving for sweet, salty, and fatty foods (though usually not all at once like this week) against being healthy. Once I get more used to working out regularly again, I'm hoping that my appetite etc. will get more manageable again. Getting my routine solid will help, too. Working on that.
I have this negative, nagging voice in my head that keeps telling me "you're just fooling yourself. You aren't making a difference. You aren't good enough. Who are you to give advice or support or even claim to be making a difference in your life? You had Archway cookies this week. Today you had Taco Bell and skipped your strength training." I feel like a fraud because I read about people who ban trans fats (guilty, this week--I had 2 archway cookies, at 1 gram of trans fat each) and I don't eat a lot of trans fats but they aren't banned, either. I read about people who have cut soda from their diet and I still drink about one can of sugared soft drink a day--lately I'm trying to cut back again from 2. I read about people who don't eat processed foods, which I'm definitely guilty of. I read about people who eat only whole grains, while I still eat a lot of refined grains. I only do about 30 minutes of cardio a day on average, with 40 minutes of strength training 3 times a week (at most, seeing as I skipped today), and I know lots of people who routinely do an hour or more. And so forth.
But you know what, I'm not a fraud. I'm not fooling myself. So I skipped strength training--I still did what was, for me, a demanding cardio workout. I may have had Taco Bell, but I still had whole grains and fresh fruit and drank my water and so forth. It wasn't perfect, but it was still better than it might have been. I'm making a difference.
Nextyear posted a quote in her blog from a man who first ran a marathon in his 60's--when asked how he did it, he said "Start slow, and gradually slow down." His argument is that most would-be marathon runners start out really enthusiastic and then quit because it's too much. The trick is to pace yourself so that you don't burn out.
Well, I think that's what I'm doing. Pacing myself. So white flour isn't banned from my house--I'm still eating more whole wheat than I used to. I've even found some whole wheat foods I like, though I still find plenty I don't (the whole wheat crackers I had for my snack today, for example, I won't be buying again. Bleah). I'm drinking more water, drinking less soda, and eating more fruits and vegetables--even on the days when I made other, less healthy choices. I never stopped working out, just slowed down, and now I'm working at being more consistent again. It's been slow, with a lot of trial and error, but baby steps do make a difference.
But I'm not a fraud, so long as I'm upfront about it, right? I'm not perfect, folks. I sometimes make unhealthy food choices. I sometimes skip work outs. I'm losing weight, but very slowly, and I'm struggling to find my balance between healthy and not feeling punished, deprived, or just having it just take up so much time it's not sustainable, and sometimes I slip and even backslide. But I'm still plowing ahead, working on those two steps forward for every step back. And from what I've read, that counts a lot. I have made real progress and maybe I slip up sometimes, but I'm still doing better and living healthier than I was before I started on this journey.
I just need to remind myself that this isn't a competition--it doesn't matter that one person I know eats no refined flour or another person eats twice as many vegetables or that another person runs/walks 40 miles every week. I'm doing this for me; what matters is that I'm doing the best I can within my limits for a healthier, fitter me. And that includes accepting that I won't always make unhealthy choices--what matters is that I make healthy choices more often than not.
But I do hope that I manage both food and exercise better tomorrow!