Tag Archives: balance

Dating on the Run

14 Jul

My weight-loss journey began out of a need to make productive use of my time after a break up. I didn’t want to become the cliche of the girl who gorged herself on brownie sundaes to dull the pain of a failed relationship. While a brownie sundae sounds good even now, practicality is my thing.

When you’re in beast mode, time management is key to life. You have to work a workout into your schedule. You have to plan times for your meals. You need to have a steady sleep schedule to recover from the changes you’re making to your body. Add the daily activities of your actual job and extracurriculars and you realize that your social life can take a nosedive.

If you’re single like I am, dating can be difficult at the best of times even when you’re not on a fitness track. You want to meet up with that guy from OkCupid for after-work drinks, but your workout schedule already has you penned in for an hour at the gym. The guy from a couple weeks ago texts you for a movie in the park—he brings the treats, you bring the wine. But if he’s bringing treats, will he remember to bring you peppers and hummus because you’re not eating pita chips right now?

It can be all so nerve wracking. You don’t want your social schedule to ruin your good works, but you don’t want your good works to keep you from enjoying life. So how do you compromise the two in hopes of meeting the bae of your dreams?

1. Prioritize. You have to know what’s important to you. Understand where you are on your journey and what you’re willing to do to achieve your goals.

2. Let your freak flag fly. You know what you have to do to maintain or achieve your goals. Letting future bae in on where you are in your journey can only help. If he wants to grab snacks for a picnic in the park, give him suggestions. If you’re in training for a race, ask him if he wants to go with you for a run. You had a life before you met him, now just let him in on some of the things you like.

3. Cheating isn’t always bad. Say you have a rest day coming up where you’re allowed a few more cookies and a little extra syrup on your waffles. Sounds like the perfect day for a date. You’re not worried about how this slight divergence from the plan is going to affect you because you’ve already planned for a few extra calories on your plate.

 4. Lackadaisical can kick rocks. Sometimes you’ll meet a great guy where you two will hit it off. You’re both bottomless pits of useless information. He likes the same obcure BBC show that you like. But he’s a bit of a couch potato. That’s as big a deal as his need  to question your routine. If he pooh-poohs your goals and plans, he’s not worth it. Don’t settle for someone who can’t support your fitness regimen.

5. Just have fun. Dating is supposed to be fun. You’re meeting new people, learning about other interests and exploring new things. Don’t take it so seriously. Your next date may not be your husband, but he might be the guy to introduce you to a really great trainer. Or he could be the person that takes you to your new favorite restaurant, even if he wasn’t the best dinner partner.

You’ve made room in your life for fitness, now you’ve got to squeeze in more room for a social life. It’s a lot to take on, but you can do it. Look at all the progress you made just to shed a few pounds. Think of all the good you’ll do on the social scene.

How do you balance your dating life with your fitness life? What are some of the things you like to do to incorporate both?

I’m Only Good for Two

11 Jun
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I just…I don’t even know what to say about this.

While on your weight-loss journey, you learn the art of sacrifice. In order to drop the pounds, you have to drop the doughnut and pick up the cucumber salad. You have to give up live programming because your spin class starts at the same time as “Game of Thrones.”

Nothing’s ever really worth it if you didn’t have to make sacrifices for it. I say all this to justify why I’m such a slob. I hate cleaning. It was the thing I got in trouble for most as a kid. I remember my mother waking me at 2 in the morning to wash the dishes I’d neglected the night before. I just didn’t feel like it.

Things have gotten so bad that I’ve just had to leave my home to get some peace. I’ve gone for a 6-mile run in the morning, gone to work and come home to complete horror. I had to get out and go for a walk so I wouldn’t have to deal with the mess I’d created.

The irony is that despite my disgust for Lysol, I hate messes. I understand that I’m really lazy. This far into my weight-loss journey, I’ve learned what my essentials are for a peaceful existence: having my meals prepared, setting aside time for my workouts and keeping my place relatively neat.

The other thing I learned, however, is that I’m only good for two of those three. So when I’m in beast mode, my apartment suffers. My poor dog has given me side-eye for how bad things have gotten. But I’m tired. Working out takes a lot out of you. And then cooking? Ugh. It’s all too much, I say. If I’m going to be fully dedicated to my goal, something’s got to give. So I’m sorry floors, but you’re just not getting mopped until I’ve had a chance to rest.

How do you reconcile what you need to do versus what must be done? Obviously, I can’t live my life in filth. I’m a bum, I’m not crazy.

I need to clean? (fights the air)

I can justify the piled up laundry because I’ve been working so hard. The mountain of dishes in the sink are because I’ve been cooking more. When you cook, your dishes get dirty. That’s just facts. I’ve made peace with the fact that when the beast hits, dust bunnies will pile up. I just can’t entertain guests until after rest day.

No matter how far into beast mode I go, I know I have to take a rest day. The body needs time to recover, but that doesn’t mean become a bump on a log. Rest days have become essential to me maintaining my sanity and allowing me time to clean my bathroom and put dishes in the dishwasher. I can get other minor business done, like paying bills and even grocery shopping.

Making sacrifices are expected when you’re in the throes of reaching your goal. But don’t sacrifice your sanity. Maybe it’s not a messy place for you, but something else you need to maintain your peace. Find a way to make room in your new routine for the things that keep you sane. Your friends and family will thank you for it.

What have you had to sacrifice for your goals? How have you had to readjust your needs for that?

I Backslid, and So Will You

16 Dec
You will not defeat me!

You will not defeat me!

I haven’t been able to pinpoint when the problem began, but I know it’s happened. I set a limit for myself: I’d never go past 150 again. Then I hit 151. That’s no problem, I thought. I can lose that easily. Excuse after excuse and here I am pushing 160 and about to go for a run.

I know what has to be done; it’s just hard to stay on track. I’m not a fitness buff nor am I a health nut (as evidenced by my love of goldfish crackers). I don’t believe in being a slave to the number on the scale, either. But I like to look a certain way, and there’s a general weight range that I’m veering away from far too easily.

Here’s the thing: we’re all works in progress. Before, during and after the weight-loss journey is over, you will have to repeat the process.

You know why? Everybody backslides. Everybody.

Look at Oprah. No one is a a better example of the truth about yo-yo dieting. It’s not a bad thing, it’s just reality. People gain and lose weight depending on everything from their moods to the moon. It’s nothing to be ashamed of.

At my peak of weight loss, I lost over 60 pounds. But then began the process of lose, gain, repeat.

I’m not alone in this. Many, many moons ago, a woman from Tennessee trotted out on a TV stage with a wagon of fat. Remember this?

(wagon pulls in at about 1:50 mark)

I don’t do this to poke fun at the Mighty O, who even says in the video that she was starving herself at the time and has since come forward that her weight gain is the result of thyroid problems. I do this to say that no one is perfect. You will mess up. Just don’t let that be a deterrent to continuing on your way to your goals.

Here are a few tips to help you along the way:

1. Switch up your routine. Any physical trainer will tell you not to do the same routine over and over again. You don’t think to blink, walk or even flex your fingers. It’s a learned activity that the body does without much provocation. The way your body has learned these activities is similar to the way it will learn the same Zumba video you’ve been doing every day for three months. After the first month, the pounds wont drop anymore because your body knows what to do. You have to shock the system. So instead of Zumba, go swimming. Instead of running, do some resistance. Don’t let your body settle into one routine.

2. Don’t beat yourself up about it. This is just a thing that happens. You’ve done the work before, so you know what to do now. You are one of millions of people in the world who have probably fallen back into old habits. Just remember why you started in the first place and let that be the motivation to get you going again.

3. Remember your body is always changing. Maybe some of those pounds are just life catching up with you. Don’t let the number on the scale rule your life. It is solely there as a guide only. It’s about how you feel in your skin, and you have to adjust to life’s little changes…like Oprah.

What do you do when you feel you’re getting off track?

One Fish, Two Fish, I Love Goldfish

9 Dec
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Really. I just…I have no words.

If you are what you eat, then I am a bag of Pepperidge Farm Flavor Blasted Xtra Cheddar Goldfish crackers. Saying I love them doesn’t quite describe how I feel about the salty goodness that comes with each bite.

Things are so bad that I have to bypass the cracker aisle at the grocery store so as not to tempt myself. Sometimes, though, a girl just needs a bag of goldfish.

I’m aware that it’s a problem. It’s my vice. Just writing this, I want to go pick up a bag (or four). It’s helpful that they’ve gone up in price, because a few years ago I could buy 10 bags for $10. It was insane how many I not only had in my house, but how fast I could go through them. I’d shovel them like it was my last meal.

I thought about immersion therapy. You know, eating so many at once that I’d just get sick of them. But that didn’t work; I just ended up with cheese dust covering everything. No one wants to walk around looking like an orange pylon all the time.

So what to do? It’s no use denying myself the foods you enjoy when I want them. I don’t crave them all the time; but it doesn’t hurt to have a handful ready when the mood hits.

That goes for all cravings. Everyone has their fave type of junk food. For me it’s goldfish crackers, but for others it’s cookies, cupcakes, potato chips, etc. A handful won’t kill you. Eighteen handfuls, however, might be a bit of a problem.

When First Lady Michelle Obama started her Let’s Move! campaign to combat childhood obesity, some questioned how that could be reconciled with the holidays. Sure, we people could follow the initiatives pillars of healthy eating and physical activity during most of the year. But the holidays call for turkey, gravy, football and pie.

The best way to alleviate that guilt is just not to weigh yourself down with it. If you enjoy cookies, have a couple. If you like chips, have some. Just don’t let that be all you eat. These foods were created to be as snacks, not meals.

One of the things it took me a while to learn while on this weight-loss journey was the difference between cravings and hunger. Cravings can be alleviated easily if it’s not caused by hunger. For example, if I’m craving a handful of cheese-dust crackers, I’ll drink a large glass of water and chew some gum. If I’m still feenin’ it after the flavor has worn off on my Orbit Bubblemint, it’s time for some crackers. There’s no harm in water and chewing gum, and I’m not overeating.

Once you’ve learned to separate your cravings from hunger, the weight-loss journey becomes more tolerable. You find a way to keep yourself sane when a cookie craving comes along. I know it took me some time, but I hope that’s not the case for you.

What are some of your vices and how do you keep your cravings in check?

How to Stave off the Jigggle on Turkey Day

28 Nov

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Vacation is a time to take a break from the norm. You need to decompress from all of the work you’ve done. But how can you do it without backsliding into really bad habits?

Welcome to holiday season, where backsliding into all of your gluttonous desires is not only expected, but sometimes encouraged.

Who hasn’t heard from a cousin, “Oh, you look so good! You can eat that giant piece of cake. I can’t.” Or heard your uncle say, “Here, eat some of these yams drenched in butter and brown sugar. You’ve lost too much weight.”

I’ve fallen victim to holiday peer pressure just like everyone else. I’m visiting my family in Atlanta for Thanksgiving where this year’s head count is topping 30 people (a lot, but not unexpected for this brood). Majority of these people can cook, including yours truly, who is in charge of a coconut cake, pumpkin marble cheesecake, banana pudding and a roasted chicken. I understand this isn’t part of my usual low-fat, low-cal regimen, but it’s the holidays, dammit.

During the summer, it was all smoothies and salads. The food was cool and refreshing. This time of year, the food is warm and comforting. That word “comforting” brings to mind big fluffy blankets and hot chocolate. But getting too comfortable can be dangerous. Just ask your thighs.

It’s not like I eat like this all year, so I allow myself a few little indulgences. A little slice of pumpkin marble cheesecake here, some of Gram’s peach pie made especially for me there.

The key to balancing all of this is not forgetting what you’ve learned so far. I will eat my turkey and fixin’s (it’s the South), but I’ll also go for a walk afterward. I’ll do as my grandmother does and have a little taste of all the pastries, but I remembered to pack my gym clothes, as well.

If you’ve got the chance, offer a low-fat contribution to the meal. Those greens can be made with smoked turkey and taste just as good. Sweet potatoes are by definition sweet on their own. They don’t need a a pound of brown sugar and butter. Roast some Brussels sprouts or sauté some string beans. And, for God’s sake, don’t drown your food in gravy!

Remember that weight loss takes discipline and hard work. Vacation and the holidays are what we need to give ourselves respite from all of that. Incorporating your new life into your holiday life is the best way to keep it balanced without resorting to your fat-girl pants at the dinner table.

How are you balancing your turkey day?