It’s been several months since I last checked in with my fitness goals, and you know why: I’ve been slacking.
Generally, what happens is I’m very disciplined for a few months, then when I lose a little weight, I begin to slack. This was okay when I was already skinny because gaining a couple of pounds wasn’t a big deal, but now that my usual weight is skinny plus SEVERAL extra pounds, when I gain another two or three pounds, it makes a difference. Like bulging hips and thighs difference. Like spare tire difference. Like back fat difference. Like shorts that fit two years ago that no longer fit difference.
I’ve tried a few tactics that haven’t worked for me.
Eating Paleo-ish. If you don’t know, the Paleo diet is basically like the Atkins diet but somewhat healthier. Depending on how strict you are, you’re supposed to eat mostly animal protein and vegetables, plus a little fruit, dairy, and nuts, virtually no sugar, and absolutely no carbs like rice, pasta, and bread, not to mention sweets and pastries.
My problem with eating “Paleo-ish” is that while at first I did cut back on carbs, after I lost some weight, I added carbs back in on top of all the extra protein I was eating. More protein and carbs equals more calories. More calories and no increase in activity equals weight gain.
Going to the gym after work. My bus home passes the gym so it seemed stupid not to get off one stop early and go in. For a while I was really good. Three times a week (I work in my office three days, from home two days), I’d fool myself by thinking, All you have to do is go in the building, to psyche myself into going.
But somewhere along the way I fell out of the habit. Suddenly, I got tired of carting my stuff around. I hated getting home so late. I started getting tired. After working a full day, then commuting back home, I just didn’t have the motivation to also hit the gym.
I just got lazy.
Doing yoga on my own. Because I was going to the gym after work, I felt less motivated to go on the days I worked from home, which are also the days of my yoga class. I did yoga on my own, which was better than nothing but definitely not as effective as a class.
How do I know? One day I went after a couple of months of no classes, and I ALMOST DIED. Well, not really. The class was tough and afterward I was sore for a very long time.
Setting goals. You’d think setting goals would be a good idea, and at first it was. I was determined to check off all four “Do cardio” boxes every week. And sometimes I did, but of course, more often, I didn’t, and then I’d feel lame. I’d feel like I was cheating by putting something other than running or the elliptical, like walking or burpees, in those cardio boxes. Then I started to feel like, Why bother at all if I can’t check all four of those boxes?
So what am I going to do instead?
Eat in moderation. Duh! I want to continue to avoid carby snacks, sweet or savory, but I have to remember to not go crazy with the protein. Something kinda Paleo that I’ve been doing is having yams for breakfast, if only because they’re so tasty.
While we were visiting my parents in NJ in September, MB commented after a couple of days that I suddenly looked healthier. He put two and two together – we were eating my mom’s healthy Chinese food every day – as did I: we were taking three mile walks every day.
I think MB has made a conscious effort to suggest healthier options for dinner. Instead of pizza a couple of times a week, now he’s been cooking more, or suggesting more Asian cuisine and less diner food. While he’s a skinny guy who can eat just about anything, I’m not.
As for me, I’ve decided to. . .
Walk a lot more. Now instead of going to the gym after work, I walk to and from the train station on the days I go into the office. That’s two miles each way, three times a week. The walk (one way) is about 40 minutes, which is actually the same or even faster than my bus, and a hell of a lot more relaxing, especially in the morning when not a lot of people are out.
Right now the weather is really good for walking. It’s a little chilly, which is good because I’m sweating like a pig by the time I get to the train station, but since I get to wear jeans and T-shirts all the time, this doesn’t really matter. When it starts to rain more, that’ll be a bummer.
Also, I’m saving on bus fare, which is $2 each way, three times a week, or a total of $48 for the month. And after work, MB usually meets up with me in the middle, and we walk part of the way home together, chatting about our days and sometimes stopping somewhere for dinner. Another good thing is that the walk is fairly flat, an important consideration in this town.
And I’ve never felt unmotivated about walking. I’m an impatient person and hate waiting for the bus. With walking, I have total control over how quickly I get to the train station or back home.
Go to yoga class. Like I said, I get so much more out of a class than yoga on my own. I just don’t push myself enough, and also tend to do the same positions again and again. My teacher mixed up the routine, corrects our form, and sometimes talks us through the positions, reminding us to hold our muscles in a certain way. By myself, I tend to do the minimum.
My goal this month is go to yoga every week, twice a week. Once a week is pretty good, but going twice makes a real difference. Last month, I went twice just one week and even that made a difference. Plus I want to do cardio three times a week, two times before my yoga class and once on the weekend.
Track fitness, not goals. But I just talked about goals! Well, those goals are in my mind. In a spreadsheet (yup, a spreadsheet), I’m just tracking what I do each day, whether it’s walking, running, yoga, or weights. This way at least I’ll want to do SOMETHING every day, to avoid having a blank sheet spot on my my spreadsheet. For instance, this past Sunday I didn’t feel like doing anything, not even going for a walk. But I wanted to have something to put on my spreadsheet. So I just did a round of weights.
The results so far? I’ve probably lost two or three pounds, but more importantly, I feel better. My spare tire has shrunk a little, and I’m not disgusted by my reflection in the mirror. I still have a ways to go, but my new tactics seem to be working.