Blog friends, I have been avoiding you.
This diet was not going well. And it’s a lot easier to write about how great everything is, and how easy losing weight is, and the pressure to feel inspirational, motivational, etc., etc.
So I don’t want to write, ’cause it just hasn’t been going like that.
Here’s how it has been going … I’ve been cranky and irritable. It’s been three weeks but I’m hesitant to say I’ve really lost anything yet. My last weigh in was low by 2 pounds (155.2), but I had an all-time time high on Wednesday (159.4).
My method has pure calorie counting, using My Fitness Pal. (Which, BTW, I love). I haven’t changed my eating habits much, so I kept finding that I would get to dinner with 200 or less calories.
Some days it would be easy to stay within the calorie limit, or a little under it. But then, the next day, I would go on a 3-4 mile run and end utterly exhausted. Not in a muscular way, or in a breathy way, just in a uncomfortable way.
It would be a three-day pattern – stay under the limit, stay under the limit, and then binge eat, way more than I saved the previous two days. I started learning that the kinds of things that I thought were healthy and loved — oatmeal with dried fruit, sandwiches, apples and peanut butter, hummus — actually had a lot of calories when compared to what I thought were “unhealthy” things like pop-tarts, bagels and cream cheese, or cretons.
This is why the calorie-counting method doesn’t work well, in my opinion. It’s strength is that it’s science: Calories in equals calories out, no matter what you eat. But eating the carb-heavy diet that I’m used to while training for marathons, I think, is stimulating my appetite and not giving me enough stamina to last through the day.
So I started changing a few things in the past couple days:
First, I’ve put a bigger focus on protein for breakfast. It used to be oatmeal or cereal, and now it’s eggs.
Second, I’ve taken an even more critical look at all things sugar. I haven’t banned it from my diet, because that’s hard, but I’ve avoided it in all its forms at the grocery store.
Third, water. Water water water. I’ve tried to have a glass of water by my side at all times. This has helped, if anything, flush out the poor effects of really really bad days.
Fourth, consistency. I’m trying to hit my calorie limits consistently every day, because 300 under one day usually results in 600 over the next day. I need to make sure I have enough calories to train, even if its just off season happy training.
Fifth, remember every day is a new day. A bad decision yesterday is not justification for a bad decision today.
I had a good run today. I did not feel particularly motivated to go out today, not in this weather, but I knew I should. I thought about losing all my post-marathon fitness and that made me sad. So I went out and tried a new route and I was glad I did.
Off-season is a time to remind myself why I run and why I train. It’s a time for a renewed sense of purpose as I head into my next goal. I don’t feel that there is a linear path from where I’ve been next year to where I want to go, and I’m trying to just embrace it and see what comes.