A Change in Absolutes

Remember at the beginning of the year when I set new health and fitness goals?

Yeah….those didn’t pan out. And I could tell you that this happened because I got sick in February (which I did, and was sicker than I have been in years…awful!), or that I lost momentum when I traveled for work, or that I derailed while we were in the process of moving into our new condo a few weeks ago. These things all did in fact happen, but they are not responsible for the fact that I stalled before I had even really started with a new set of goals for myself. No, the reason I crashed and burned on my 2018 goals is because they weren’t realistic. 

Life is a lot of things, but it is most definitely NOT predictable. Using absolutes like I tried to do in January, declaring that I would bring my lunch EVER day or that I would NEVER have a glass of wine on a work night, are just not set rules that I’m willing to follow. And that’s really the crux of it: if I’m not willing to make a change for the rest of my life, it isn’t going to stick and I’m not going to benefit from it in the long run.

I’ve been reading an amazing blog called Runs for Cookies. The author, Katie, repeatedly explains that the reason she was able to lose weight and keep it off is because she only implemented changes she was willing to keep up for life. Over time, what she’s been willing to do for life has changed….at first, she wasn’t willing to exercise, but over time she found that she wanted to. As her body felt different, what she wanted changed.

Ever since I started gaining weight in  2014, after successfully maintaining my goal weight for two years, I’ve been obsessing about what diet or mindset might get me back to feeling good. Of course, nothing I tried worked (and, spoiler alert – no diet is EVER going to work long term) and my weight has continually fluctuated.

I learned through reading Katie’s posts that weight fluctuation is normal and it’s going to happen. To me. To everyone. I’ve said this before, but I seriously wonder if, had I simply adjusted my food and exercise slightly when I gained a little weight in 2014 instead of going on a crash diet, if my weight would have self-regulated. It’s completely possible that I wouldn’t be here now, 25 pounds above goal, if I had just left my body alone to do what it had already been doing. I started to see a glimpse of this in late 2016, when I swore off dieting and got back to working out regularly. My weight started dropping. And then after I gained some weight on my honeymoon, I fell back into old habits…not doing the workouts I liked, going on seriously low-calorie diets to drop weight. It should be no surprise that I’m now heavier for it.

So here’s what I know: when I was at my lowest weight, I wasn’t dieting. There were no foods that were off-limits and there were no rules. I was exercising because I loved my exercise classes and because I loved feeling fit. I didn’t want to be skinny; I danced because I loved it and I lifted weights because I delighted in having muscle tone. I kept doing those things because I felt good. My self-confidence soared, because I felt like I could do anything.

On Saturday morning, I woke up and all I wanted to do was go to the gym and take a dance class. I went, and it was absolutely amazing. I left feeling accomplished and strong, so much so that later in the day I suggested to Bill that we walk a mile and a half to Rory’s for lunch. Yesterday, I thought I would be exhausted, but I woke up craving a workout. I did Training Camp with Bill and was even able to do the push-ups from my toes! Normally I have to drop to my knees for push-ups.

Today, I am definitely sore in places, but I’m also excited knowing that it’s Monday and I get to go to dance this evening! It’s also absolutely gorgeous outside today and wonderfully warm, and I treated myself to a walk on the trail near my office as an afternoon  break from work. I love walking and will definitely still be doing plenty of that!

Right now I’m all about doing what makes me feel good, both physically and mentally,  and what gives me energy. The only thing I’m going to declare that I absolutely WON’T do is diet – it doesn’t do any good anyway.