You know how some days start out good, and end terribly? Tuesday was one of those days for me. I woke up ready to go – excited, even – because it was a weigh-in day. I hadn’t weighed myself in three weeks, and for most of those three weeks, I didn’t miss the scale. It was over the weekend that I started becoming really curious about my weight. Then, all of a sudden, Tuesday couldn’t come quick enough. It was joyful anticipation: overall, my three weeks had been good. I had exercised 17 out of the 21 days, and eaten well, too. I was expecting to lose the pound I’d gained since hitting my all-time low, and maybe even lose another pound on top of it.
I brought my scale out from hiding – it’s been living on the top shelf of my closet, where I didn’t have to look at it every day – and I weighed myself. Three times. And all three times I got the same result:
I gained 2 pounds.
What?!? It didn’t make much sense. My eating and exercise had been good. I hadn’t had any binges nor swung by any buffets. I had been pushing myself at the gym. I was in shock when I updated my chart:
Here’s a couple more pictures of the chart, since it’s been a while since I’ve posted any:
What’s interesting (and positive) was that my initial reaction wasn’t to beat myself up or curl up in the corner and cry. I was confused, but I wasn’t disappointed, and I wasn’t angry either. I decided I should go back to weighing myself weekly, but keeping the scale in the closet except for when I use it. Then I continued getting ready for work. In the car, I went back through the past three weeks in my mind, seeing if there was some big event that I wasn’t remembering, but there wasn’t. There were no late-night runs to Taco Bell. There were no pie-eating contests. There were no episodes where I ate an entire can of frosting with my fingers in front of the television. I couldn’t be mad at myself because I couldn’t identify what went wrong. As I pulled into the parking garage at work, I decided all I could do was continue making good choices. I just had to keep it up, and the weight would eventually come off. As I settled at my desk and prepped for the work day, I felt proud, because I’d handled a weight gain better than I ever had before.
That was the morning. But the afternoon, my tune had changed. Most of the work day went fine: I had brought all sorts of healthy foods – enough for lunch and dinner, so I could go straight from the office to the gym. Around 3:30, I was feeling really hungry – it had been a few hours since lunch, so I decided to eat part of my dinner. I ended up eating all of it. Around 5pm, I was filing up my water bottle, and I noticed I was hungry again. I was in the office kitchen, where there’s a whole wall of chips, granola bars and candy. A granola bar wouldn’t be the end of the world, I thought, and it would hold me over until after the gym. So I grabbed one. Well, I’ll grab two, since I’m here, and keep one in my desk for tomorrow.
Both granola bars were eaten within minutes. Then I noticed that the snack stash for the project I’m working on, located mere feet from my desk, had been replenished, and over the next hour, I wandered over there a few times for a handful of almonds or crackers. And two more granola bars. By quitting time, around 7pm, my brain was in full-on sabotage mode: You’ve already ruined the day, David. The ship has capsized and it’s sinking. There’s nothing you can do. Screw the gym, David – you won’t put a dent in the caloric damage that’s been done. You can get back on track tomorrow. Plus, what does it really matter? You gained weight even when you do everything right, so what’s the point of making good choices?
This self-sabotage is nothing new. I’ve experienced it on every diet I’ve ever been on. I’ve gone long stretches in the past couple years where I’ve warded it off, thanks to careful food planning, but I obviously haven’t beaten it completely. Yesterday, it really grabbed hold, and tight.
When I left the office, I didn’t go to the gym. I went to the store. At the store, I bought a package of 4 veggie sausages, since I was really craving a hot dog. I also bought a package of 8 rolls. I also bought a bag of potato chips. It wasn’t a gigantic family-size bag, but it definitely wasn’t a single serving, either. Then I went home, where I ate all of it. All of it. Then I felt ashamed. And depressed. And pathetic. Like a failure.
I didn’t want to exercise. I didn’t want to write a blog post. I didn’t want to do my burpees. I just wanted to sleep. So I went to bed.
When I first woke up on Wednesday, I didn’t remember the prior night’s activities until I went into my kitchen and saw the dirty dishes. I decided then and there that today had to be different. This bullshit couldn’t happen again. I packed food for the day, and at work, I ate it. It turns out I didn’t bring enough, so I supplemented it with a salad from a nearby restaurant. It was a long day at the office – I was there until 8:30pm or so – but I came home, and even though I was tired, I did my burpees, all 47 of them – the 23 that I skipped the day before, and the 24 for today. Then, I went for a run. My goal was to run for 35 minutes, and walk for 5 minutes before and after, for a 45-minute workout. I ended up running for 58 minutes, and with the walking warm-up and cool down, I was gone for 68 minutes. My route was too boring to show on a map: I picked a nearby major street, and ran down it for about a half hour, then turned around and run home. I ended up running 5.7 miles, at 5.6 mph. I’ll take it.
Tomorrow, I gotta do the same thing: eat well, and exercise. On Friday, the same thing. Same goes for the weekend. My goal is clear: I gotta…
…Keep it up, David.
TOMORROW: A big announcement.
THE DAY AFTER TOMORROW: I announce the winner of my $20 iTunes giftcard giveaway! If you haven’t entered, click here!