Failure, Physical

No Need to Panic (Anymore)

I hit the panic button and didn’t reset it for the past few weeks. So what happened?

I had started out the week with a half marathon in early March, in 35 degree weather, in 25 mph winds, along a beach in Rhode Island. The winds were howling down at Misquamicut, to the extent that the race organizers were unable to put up the finish line arch or any standup signage/mile markers. My coworker was worried sick about me and exclaimed (at least my take on it) that I was dead. Given that I received whiplashes of frostbite and went into a deep sleep the next day, he was half-right. More to come about the Ocean’s Run half in another post.

When I gathered enough strength to do more than lounge about the house, I devoured one of my favorite breads, Trader Joe’s cranberry pecan pull aparts. All six in one sitting, and yet I still wanted more. My next craving turned into bowlfuls of American chop suey, simply because it was available. My ravenous streak continued with eating a family size bag of Utz sour cream chips — in one sitting, after dinner. It struck again earlier this week when I ate half a loaf of bread with multiple spreads of délice de Bourgogne (creamy brie cheese!).

Of course, all the while I have been exercising. My net weight loss in the past three weeks is about 0-1lb. Surprised? So was I.

In part, it’s because my meals lately have been vegetarian or even vegan. Aside from the chop suey, I might’ve eaten three slices of leftover pork chop or a bite of beef pot roast while I was cooking. During St. Patrick’s week, cabbage was ridiculously cheap. On my own, I had 5 heads of cabbage in a week and a half. My dinner could’ve consisted of 2/3 of a cabbage and three eggs, and I’d be satiated for a while. If anything came out of these past few weeks, it’s that I’ve added (red) cabbage to my eating repertoire.

TMI – The Unintended Effect of Too Much Information

Sometimes my eating episodes are triggered due to knowing information. With gadgets like the fitbit automatically tracking our activity and information at our fingertips via Google, it’s become easier to reason with ourselves. Thankfully, I don’t have any such gadget and only use Google Fit for tracking. Weighing myself at the gym has become addictive, but in a bad way. I’ll look at the scale, see numbers I haven’t seen in… ever, and then reason that I could make an exception (with eating aforementioned extras) here and there.

I’m not a calorie counter per se, but I do become curious about the foods I eat. Having rarely eaten cabbage before, I took a look at the nutrition facts and found that cabbage doesn’t have much in terms of calories. I suppose I shouldn’t be too surprised, considering this applies to most leafy greens. What ends up happening, though, is that I say to myself that I can eat more.

To address these scenarios, perhaps what I need to do is ask myself a simple question: Am I really hungry?

Forget reasoning. I need to come back to the purpose, to the why.

Looking Ahead

I wasn’t kidding when I said from here on out that it’s mind over matter. In the past decade and more, my weight has never dipped to the low 120s. Maybe subconsciously my body’s fighting back. Whatever it is, I know it’ll continue to be an uphill battle. My only solace is that I’ve reset the panic button.

Today is another day. There’s another week to look forward to. Let’s make the best of it—

Success is stumbling from failure to failure with no loss of enthusiasm.
—Winston Churchill

Exercise Philosophy, Physical

Making Excuses Burns Zero Calories

There’s a meme for it, and there’s a reason.

My quest to win Biggest Loser at work is still ongoing, and I’ve noticeably stalled lately. That is, I barely lost a quarter of a pound last week and was expecting to be eliminated. I worked out every single day, and sometimes twice a day. By the same token, unlike the first few weeks, I was also eating after every physical activity to recover (and add to a team challenge about showing what you’re eating) — whether I needed it or not is a different story.

My overall philosophy is: eat to trainGiven my latest goal, I will need to temporarily tweak this. It makes sense in retrospect, so here’s my pivot point.

It’s Not About Diet And Exercise

So how am I magically shedding weight to begin with? I have a purpose.

Diet is a code word for meals with restrictions in some form or other. Exercise is an activity many people are not super enthusiastic about. Instead, I eat foods to fuel my muscles, and I train to build muscles so that I can remain active in the future. If I’m presented with food that I know won’t be good for my body, I can refer back to the goal to make an adjustment or even refuse. If I don’t find myself being active, I pull up Pharrell Williams’ Happy via Just Dance on youtube and dance (or maybe flail…) along. There’s nothing like ending the day on a happy note.

Believe it or not, I still indulge on things like four pieces of Trader Joe’s cranberry pecan pull apart’s. I take it as my body’s reaction to the more mindful eating that’s happening lately. The next step would be to acknowledge my body’s reaction and then let it pass. In the words of a previous supervisor I had, “This too shall pass.” Baby steps.

Weight Is A Series of Decisions, Not A Number

I was listening to the audiobook for Does This Clutter Make My Butt Look Fat? by Peter Walsh, and in a nutshell it focuses on the questions of where and why you eat. Decluttering your spaces like the kitchen and pantry will in turn help declutter your relationship with food. What he also emphasized was that weight shouldn’t be our focus, as weight carries with it underlying habits and allows us to berate ourselves for our imperfections. Barring genetics and our bodies’ physiology, weight is the culmination of the decisions we make daily.

For example, I bought chips and salsa for a party I thought I’d host but ended up not having enough time off to do so (I work on weekends). Now they’re sitting on a table that I pass by often, and it whittles down my willpower ever so slightly. By placing it in an unseen area, it’ll help, but it’s honestly still clutter. At this time, my resolve is to bring it to my work’s veggietecher meeting where people bring their vegetarian dishes to share. And there we go again — purpose. If everything had a clear purpose to it, wouldn’t we have less? In any case, the chips and salsa won’t be there for long, but it goes to show that a decision made in the past can influence the present.

By the way, he also agrees that there’s no set diet or exercise plan.

So What’s Your New Philosophy?

It’s: mind over matter.

I’m going to turn I think I can to I know I can. I’m stronger than I give myself credit for.

What’s your philosophy?

People spend too much time finding other people to blame, too much energy finding excuses for not being what they are capable of being, and not enough energy putting themselves on the line, growing out of the past, and getting on with their lives.
— J. Michael Straczynski