Friday, April 26, 2013
It's difficult for me to be realistic. If I'm guilty of anything, it's being too hard on myself, getting nostalgic, and romanticizing. I try really hard not to, and I think I'm better than I used to be, but only because I've made a conscious effort to be real about what my goals should be and how I can reach them.
When I first started running, I was did not plan on running a 5k. I had no goals in mind for distance. My plan was just to try it for a week or two and follow the early steps for couch to 5k and see what happened. It went well, and I did end up running a 5k after a couple months of training. One big motivator was that I lost a few pounds right off the bat, and I found some running pants that made my butt look awesome! Win win. But after I had been running for a while, I stopped losing weight and hovered around the same area for a long time. I was increasing my mileage and running what seemed like a TON, so I figured that my scale was broken. I'm not kidding. I bought a new scale because I literally thought there was no way I could be able to run five miles and still be within a couple pounds of the me that could not run two blocks. I should have realized then that it's way more about food than exercise, and I wasn't being honest about my food intake.
Of course, exercise is huge for me. I love running, hiking, biking, and walking, especially when I can do these things outside in my beautiful state, and with friends and family, but it doesn't matter if I run ten miles when I eat fatty, salty foods, and lots of alcohol later in the day. I can erase the calories burned in a long run with one fatty meal. If part of the goal is losing weight, then I have to get passed the idea that lots of exercise entitles me to food rewards, sweets, several delicious beers, and so on. I did for a long time and was sabotaging myself.
Once and a while, I have a beer/cheese/fries weekend where I'm doing something like hosting someone from out of town and I go a little overboard on food and skimp on exercise. That's just life. It's not the end of the world. But on the other three weekends of the month and during the work week, I only have one or two beers, a serving of cheese (a one inch cube—be realistic!), and a whole lot of sensible meals that I plan out. Plus, I use Lose It to track calories. You're more likely to lose weight if you keep a food log, and you can't kid yourself when you put in everything that you eat. It's simple math.
One more thing about being realistic: you're most likely to maintain your lost weight if you don't do much more than 1–2 pounds per week. Be realistic about goals! It will be more fun and less frustrating when you're not setting some unattainable number in your head.
Maybe goal-setting will be my next post. ;)