How I get (back) on track

I like to breathe when I work out.

I know what you’re thinking.  “Duh.”  Yeah…I know, it’s a no-brainer.  But this meant that congested-sick me was in no shape to work out.

Working out has really become a “Listen to your body” experience for me.  So many times in the past I would work out until I dropped.  I would work myself into a painful ball of lactic acid, thinking that if I could walk the next day I didn’t work hard enough the day before.  It was dumb, and more importantly, it wasn’t sustainable.  That’s not a life that you can LIVE.

To the tune of living, common sense, and listening to my body, I took a whole week off when I got sick.  In the past, this would have depressed me.  This time, I just knew that my body wasn’t ready to be pushed yet.

Unfortunately, my recovery week ran smack into vacation week.  Taking time off for being sick is reasonable.  Not working out on vacation is unreasonable.  And overeating is also unreasonable.  That said, I’m unreasonable, and totally guilty.

I didn’t work out on Vermont.  I didn’t work out when I got back to Boston and my parents were here.  I didn’t work out even though I’m in love with Bodyrock workouts, and some are as short as 4-6 minutes!  I don’t mind that while my parents were here, I enjoyed every bite of unhealthy, fatty, glutenous indulgences.  What I did realize was my inability to keep my fingers from grabbing more.

You know those old ladies at holiday parties that want you to KEEP eating their browines/chocolates/cakes/fudge/cheesecake/etc/etc/etc?  Yeah, I’m their dream come true.  I keep taking and trying all of it.  It’s a flaw.  “Hi, my name is Amanda and I’m an over-eater.”

I warned myself to stay away from the scale this week.  Although you might have read my post about disregarding the numbers, and going by the number…I still do check in on the scale to make sure I’m not getting complacent.  That, and it’s exciting to watch the number drop.  I told myself to stay away this week.  I knew I wouldn’t like what I saw.  I already could see the changes in my body (maybe I’m imagining them), but it was enough to upset me.  Well….while getting dressed today I was unhappy with the image in the mirror and wanted to see how much backtracking I did.  Big mistake.

I have an unrealistic ideal body image, admittedly, and all of my flaws are inflated when I look at myself.  (I sound like every other girl, right?  I’m here to be honest)  But I think that reaching for my ideal is what will keep me working out, going, and not getting complacent.  It works to my benefit.  Because of this, I was feeling the guilt of my eating and anger at my reflection.  This is what got me into my running shoes yesterday and on the road to the best run I’ve had in a long time.

Today, I watched Bodyrock videos.  That’s all the inspiration most people need!  Check out Zuzana:


And that got me off my ass to do the Medal of Honour Abs Workout.  Loved it!

Food is also really important to get back on track.  Even though I had tons of delicious leftovers from my weekend feasts, it was not the type of food to get me back on track.  So a trip to Trader Joe’s got me the essentials: black beans, mango bars, Greek yogurt, low-sodium chicken broth, oats, bananas and almond milk.  This helped me get my breakfasts back on track (breakfast is the best/biggest meal of the day!) and have some staples for the rest of the week.

Today I also went to Haymarket to get fresh produce for the week, and I feel like I’m already well on my way to being back on track.  I cooked curried carrot cold soup today, which will last me a couple days.

So there is a lot of random thoughts in this post…here is a list (for those type A people like me) of how to jump back on track

  1. Don’t get upset – it would have been very easy (and a classic Amanda move) to continue my food indulgences, and get more mad at myself with each bite.  This isn’t helpful.  You enjoyed yourself!  You deserve to enjoy your food!  Now get back on that cardio machine.
  2. Get rid of the bad food laying around – and surround yourself with your favorite treats that you won’t feel bad munching on.  For me, this included bananas to enjoy with my new peanut butter, the ingredients to make my favorite breakfast, and healthy new recipes to try.
  3. Remind yourself how you felt after eating those meals – maybe it’s just me, but sometimes after I indulge in especially unhealthy foods, I develop a rock in my stomach and slip into a food coma.  That’s not fun, and neither is guilt or ugly reflections.
  4. Find your inspiration – if you’re not working out for a reason, you’re going to fall off track easily and quickly.  If you reason is to “get skinny,” you’re going to fall off track easily and quickly.  If you want to live a longer life, if you want to be more fit, if you want to run a marathon, if you want to have more confidence in the mirror, or shop at a specific store, or always like the way your clothes look; if you want to hike more, swim more, run more, do more, walk farther, stand longer; whatever it is.  (Notice how all those things are “YOU” centered?  That’s essential.  Do it for you, because YOU want to do something, change, BE something.)
  5. Remember what you like, and don’t start with things you hate – for example, yesterday I went to a new yoga studio that I’ve been meaning to try and got their “new student” discount.  I now have a month of unlimited yoga.  Awesome?  Yes.  Inspiration to keep going?  Definitely!  Yoga was perfect to ease back in, and my $40 will keep me going back all month.
  6. Don’t forget how good it feels to sweat – I’ve never finished a workout and said “I wish I hadn’t even worked out.”  Regardless about how good my workout was, or the quality, or my fatigue, I’m always happy I worked out.  Don’t forget this.

I knew this day would come.  The day I fell so far off the horse that it would be easier to throw in the towel than to own up and get back on track.  Working out is hard.  Getting there, eating well, and maintaining requires discipline.  This isn’t easy, and I’m so sorry if I made it sound that way!

But I’m happy when I work out.  I feel GOOD when I eat well.  I LOVE liking the way my clothes look, and people telling me I look “great!”  That’s worth it.  This is a lifestyle change.  I’m eating well, becoming more fit (notice I’m not trying to get skinny, I’m getting more fit).  Diets suck.  Workout programs suck.  Lifestyle changes work.  That’s it.  I’m sorry that this plan is a lie and will never work, not even for you or Madonna:

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