I’m officially disgusted with myself.
Over the last 3 years, I have expended a lot of effort improving my life, most notably with regards to my health. This time in 2009, I was sedentary, weighed 277 pounds, and felt like crap All.The.Time. On 12/2/2009, I started Weight Watchers and in late January of 2010 I joined the gym and hired a personal trainer.
Fast forward to present day, and the picture is very different. As of this morning, I weigh 227 pounds and I am a regular at the gym – participating in CrossFit, Pilates, and sometimes swimming or walking. At the beginning of 2012, I committed to working out 200 times this year, and I have completed 182 workouts – soon to be 183, once I finish up tonight’s efforts. Great progress – I probably look better than I ever have in my adult life – and yet I’m still disgusted with myself.
Why am I disgusted? Because I’m not where I want to be, and it’s my own damned fault. In short, even though I have made great strides and am 50 pounds lighter than I used to me, I have lost my edge in the eating department. I haven’t been counting calories or eating the right things as much as I should, and it is showing up on the scale. Sure, one could argue that a loss of 50 pounds is nothing to sneeze at, but I have about 65 more that I want to lose – that my doctor would probably argue I *need* to lose. And yet the scale is stuck.
This weekend, I took some time to ask myself why I am stuck, and why I’m not holding myself accountable to eating the right amount and quality of food. And my original answer was that I’d lost my motivation. My motivation is gone, and therefore my ability and willingness to eat correctly is not there. And I said to myself “Aha! What I need to do is get my motivation back! Then I will eat correctly and the weight will start falling off again!” However, there is one small problem.
The problem is that this line of thinking is bullshit. Pure, unapologetic BULLSHIT. Some call it rationalization, or justification, or any of the words you’d find if you searched for “excuse” on thesaurus.com. But at the end of the day, all of it is B-U-L-L-S-H-I-T, and I know it.
As I continued hanging out inside my own braining, thinking about what I want my body and my health and my life to be like, I recalled something I used to tell people about working out. I’m sure you are familiar with the old saw that many people – perhaps even you, Dear Reader – trot out when the subject of exercise comes up. “I don’t like to work out. It’s boring. I can’t find an activities I enjoy. And besides, who has time for it?” You know, all those things that make fit people who include physical activity as a part of their lifestyle want to ask “Would you like some cheese and crackers to go with your whine?”
My take on exercise is this: I don’t like exercise much. Even 3 years after I started making it a regular part of my life, I don’t really love it. But then again, I don’t love paying the bills either. But I am smart enough to know that if I don’t pay the bills, bad things will start happening, like the lights being shut off, or the gas, or the nice men from the bank foreclosing on your house. So I certainly know if I don’t want those things to happen, I have to pay the bills. And by extension, if I want to be flexible, mobile, and able to live a robust life, I have to work out, right?
I have given the “exercise is like paying the bills” speech to God only knows how many people the last 3 years, and because of my tried-and-true ability to compartmentalize, it escaped me that I was forgetting that eating the right foods in the right amounts is also like paying the bills. Because I didn’t WANT to see it – I didn’t WANT to acknowledge it. I wanted to eat right when I felt like it, which is probably about 50-60% of the time, not the 85-95% of the time that I really need to do it if I want to see results.
The madness stops now. Or, to be more accurate, the madness stopped when I woke up on Sunday, 12/2/2012 and decided that the 3rd anniversary of the start of this journey was as good a day as I could think of to stop the madness. Other than tracking every bite that goes into my face, I haven’t even completely decided what this means, but dadgumit, I’m going to change direction – not on New Year’s Day, but RIGHT NOW.
It’s dinner time. I’m going to go pay the electric bill now.