On I went, out of the wood, passing the man leading without knowing I was going to do so. Flip-flap, flip-flap, jog-trot, jog-trot, curnchslap-crunchslap, across the middle of a broad field again, rhythmically running in my greyhound effortless fashion, knowing I had won the race though it wasn't half over, won it if I wanted it, could go on for ten or fifteen or twenty miles if I had to and drop dead at the finish of it, which would be the same, in the end, as living an honest life like the governor wanted me to. -Alan Sillitoe, "Loneliness of the Long Distance Runner"

Monday, November 9, 2009

Weekly weigh-in

I fell and I fell hard this week. What happened to me?

I was Icarus, flying too close to the sun, believing myself to be invincible. I had such a good week of eating well and exercising last week; how could I not lose weight?

Answering that question is actually going to prove key to fixing myself, because I made a series of all-too-common mistakes that I'm prone to make and that are going to hinder my progress. Rookie mistakes. Things I should have seen coming and could have compensated for, if I hadn't blithely believed myself to be beyond it.

1. On Friday, I waited too long until eating dinner. Way too long. By the time dinner was upon me, I was a lost cause. Cooking was out of the question; food delivery was in order. I went with the "healthiest" delivery option, which was Chinese food. I used not having a menu as an excuse for ordering my favorite style of breaded chicken. I could have salvaged this by having a snack earlier, by ordering something legitimately healthy, or by not eating the whole gosh-darn thing just because it was in front of me and I was hungry. Ravenously hungry. Or, better yet, by planning for my meals in advance earlier in the week. Hint that I was doing something bad: my entire meal was brown.

2. My eating rampage continued on the weekend, as I went completely off-plan and continued to eat myself silly. Excuses this time? It's already too late after Friday night's binge, the fact that I had lunch with some friends on Sunday, or (the classic) it's the weekend; I deserve a treat. Taking care of myself is a treat. I can't avoid dinner parties or restaurants for the rest of my life. I'm a dummy.

3. I didn't exercise as much as I could have. This is due to a variety of factors, each interesting:

a. lack of sleep. The heat in my house has been damn near unbearable lately, as the seasons shift from warm to cold with a heating system that I do not control that seems to have either full-on or completely off as its only two options. I don't know what to do about this. On one hand, it's a legit reason, but on the other hand, it's not a problem that's going away any time soon and I need to learn to adapt.

b. the "weekend!" syndrome; the same thing that caused me to overeat. The weekend should be a time for exorcising the week through exercise (play on words!). Instead, I didn't do anything. I think the solution here is to remember when exercise was an enjoyable treat, which is still is... once I get out the door.

c. classic underestimate food intake, overestimate exercise. I did some exercising this weekend: on Friday, I went ice skating and to the gym, and on Sunday I went rowing. Sounds like a lot, right? Well, the ice rink on Friday was so small and crowded that I couldn't even get enough speed to attempt a crossover. And the rowing? We were headed downstream. I barely broke a sweat. But, I was able to tell myself to take it easy because I'd already worked out. Ha!

This thing that I'm doing is meant as a lifelong challenge to myself, a way of life to which I'll hopefully adapt. This is not meant as a few month's struggle followed by a reward. It will feel good to once more be thin and fit, but the reward will not be allowing myself to binge-eat fried Chinese food in my pyjamas at 10pm on a Friday night. The reward will come when I catch a fleeting glimpse of myself in the glass as I'm walking around and don't think to myself, "Oh, dear, my arms are MUCH thicker than I realize," or "Nice back fat."*

*These are not meant to be overly self-deprecating; I'm being upfront about my goal weight in the sidebar to the right, and that goal is many, many pounds from now. I am heavier than I care to admit right now.

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