I am a workout junkie! It's just my thing. My life revolves around my exercise. Its been this way since I first started putting my health back in focus after I had my son. Working out was the best way to relieve the stress of my complicated life. Getting that daily workout in was a "non-negotiable."
At that time, working out was enough. I managed to lose my first 44 pounds with focus on exercise alone. Although, I didn't put too much thought into my eating, I didn't eat terrible. I would focus on finding healthy recipes and finding ways to sneak vegetables into a lot of the foods I ate. Not only was this improvement for my health, but for my son's health, as well. I stuck to a few simple rules :
- No junk food unless I had eaten my 5-9 fruits and veggies for the day
- If someone left treats in the break room, I needed to pass by it twice before taking one (usually it was gone by then)
- Exercise at lunch
I was able to keep this weight loss routine 5 days a week and lose 1-2 lbs. every week.
Have you ever heard people say, "I work out so I can eat!" That was me. I knew eventually, I was going to have to eat better. At that time, I thought eating better meant that dreadful 4-letter "D" word... "DIET"! I would rather DIE!! I had done so many as a kid and couldn't fathom putting those crazy restrictions on myself again. With what I already had going on in my life, it seemed too hard. However, the day finally came when I became frustrated with my stalling progress. Had it not been for the ending result, I would have thought the conversation I had with my friend was serendipitous. She told me about something she had recently done - Atkins!
After reading all about it, it not only seemed to make sense, but it seemed like I could follow the process through the 2 week induction phase and the 2nd phase where you slowly start adding carbohydrates back in until you know what your "limit" should be. This was 11 years ago, when my son was 3.
The first week of the induction phase was amazing! Sure, I went through the leg cramps at night and the headaches while at work from not having any carbohydrates but I dropped 12 lbs.!!!! It was unreal! By the 2nd week however, the carbohydrate depletion really began to effect my workouts! I couldn't make it through my regular 30 minute run on Monday and Wednesday's spin class was such a challenge that I really had to back it off on Friday. I couldn't wait to get back to adding carbohydrates! For the girl that is a workout-aholic, I knew this was NOT for me!
Thank goodness, my energy returned once I started adding the carbohydrates. In fact, I had an energy surge
during my workouts! As I continued to drop the weight, I was certain, that this carbohydrate counting thing was the key. I was elated! Unfortunately, this excitement didn't last too long because another demon of mine returned. The constant limiting and counting of carbohydrates caused me to feel guilty if I went over and of course I felt compelled to get rid of them. That evil "binge-purge" demon had resurfaced after being put to rest for so many years. I started to recall the reason why I DON'T DIET!
I went through a few more years trying to recover my mind and body and get back on track. I needed to relearn that fruits were OK again. Instead of depriving myself of macro-nutrients, I just needed to be aware of what I ate. The less pressure I put on myself, whether it be to diet or over extending myself with work, volunteering, running my household as a single parent, etc., the less likely I would unleash that nasty beast! I did well if I tracked my food enough to be aware of what I was eating. I did not do well if I was counting calories, carbohydrates, fats, proteins, etc; which was too time consuming. Unfortunately, however, during this process of discovery, trial and error, learn and relearn, doubts and depression, I managed to regain 52 of the 80 total pounds I had lost.
No more! At least I thought I had encountered my turn around point. Even though I managed to get focus and drop 20 pounds, I still haven't been able to completely put my demon away. I started to get over consumed again when life got overwhelming or when I get exposed to a 'new' way of eating for weight loss.
My last introduction was to Carb-cycling. This is an eating plan where you load up on carbohydrates on 1 day by eating complex carbohydrates, including vegetables and proteins, followed by 1-2 days where you deplete your carbohydrate stores by eating proteins, vegetables and healthy fats. This, like many other eating plans may be effective for some, but for me, it triggers a monster who destroys all the benefits of that type of eating for weight loss. I feel restricted by the food combinations either carbohydrates or fats and end up overeating for which ever day it is. Or I feel restricted because I can't meet friends or co-workers for lunch without throwing my whole week off.
Given what I know about myself, there is a fine line between restriction and binging. There is a similar line between giving myself to much to do, like meticulously tracking calories, protein grams, fat grams, etc. and binging. Finally I know that I must have some sort of accountability to get any results. This is why I was so excited to hear about a program that focused on controlling portions without restriction. I can finally get back to eating a regular "clean" diet with rooms for snack and wine, if I choose. The best way to make this work is to plan! Plan what you're going to eat for most of your meals. If there is something you cannot plan for, or if you have lunch or dinner plans, you'll be able to easily find something on the menu you can eat. Although portion control is not new, having the portions packaged up in a color-coded system that's easy to follow and understand is fantastic! Simplicity! I can feel successful again!
If you want to find out more information about the 21 Day Fix Program or want accountability in reaching your fitness goals, connect with me on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/Techifitness