A day at a time

I have a problem. I tend to swing to extremes on the weight loss front, from eating pizza, pasta and ice cream for a week straight, to declaring I’m going to go paleo for life and run a half marathon in six months.

It’s silly and, worse, it sets me up for failure.

Last night, for example, I went to dinner with friends and used it as an excuse to go hog wild. Jon and I split chips and queso, I had a burger and fries, AND I had a strawberry margarita. It was all really fun for 20 minutes. But then it turned to shame (not to mention physical discomfort) for hours–not worth it.

So what did I do? My first inclination was to make a sweeping declaration that I was going to go on a carbless diet for the rest of my life. Ridiculous. The second I said that, I found myself wanting French toast for breakfast.

So instead, I decided to take it one day at a time. TODAY, I am following the Fittest Loser eating program. It is clean eating, with two whole-grain starches allowed before 3 p.m. and no starches afterward. It’s a really healthy, whole foods-focused program, and when I followed it, I was in the best shape of my life.

But if I declare that I’m going to follow that plan for life, I’m going to go grab the ice cream in the freezer and rebel. When I take it one day at a time, I can tell myself that I just need to do it for 24 hours. The idea is that I’ll do the same thing tomorrow and it WILL become a long-term goal. And when I DO make the choice to have a slice of pizza, it will affect only that one day, and I won’t be devastated because a giant lifelong goal was just derailed.

If I decided to run a half marathon today, I’d get outside and fail within 15 minutes. But if I decide that I’m going to run a mile today, and I do that each day for a long period, one day I WILL run that half marathon.

Like The Tortoise and the Hare reminds us, slow and steady often wins the race.

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About Kristen K

My life has always been pretty darn fantastic--except for one thing: my weight. Not too long ago, I tipped the scale at 283 pounds. I'd gain some, lose some and gain some right back, and I was so frustrated. When I saw a notice for a Biggest Loser-style contest in my local paper, I applied on the spot and I felt like I won the lottery when I found out I was one of the five contestants chosen. We worked out four times a week with trainers and followed a clean eating diet, and my life completely transformed. I've lost more than 60 pounds and I'm feeling confidence for the first time in my life. I'm 29 years old with a great husband, a rewarding job, two adorable dogs and fantastic friends. Weight loss continues to be a struggle now that the contest has ended, but this time I know that I can do it and I'm fully committed. This blog has seved as an accountability tool as I journey from a happy, but fat, person to a happy and confident person. And for the first time in my life, I'm no longer putting it off until tomorrow. This time, I'm starting this minute.
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One Response to A day at a time

  1. likeableme says:

    Something that I’m hearing in your post is that – as MANY of us do who struggle with weight issues – you’ve got a lot of emotion tied up in food. It’s celebratory. It’s comforting. It’s shaming. It’s embarrassing. It might not hurt to take a look at where that is coming from – where did that start for you? Because food is not an emotion. Food is not a party, it’s part of a party. Food is not a hug. Nor is it accusatory or putting you down. Food is food. It is fuel. The only purpose it has is to provide you nutrition to perform activities. It is gas in the car. The same way you wouldn’t put crap gas in your car and expect it to run great, your body doesn’t run well on crap food. If you can look at where your relationship with food shifted from fuel to control & emotion, then you can remind yourself that you aren’t in that place anymore when temptation strikes. “I am not 6 years old at that school party anymore. I don’t feel like that anymore. I can make better choices now.”

    FWIW – a burger & fries isn’t crap – it’s protein & carbs. (Don’t want those fries super salty though.) And those proteins & carbs are good choices so long as they’re rounding out a picture of other good choices over the course a whole day or a whole week. I eat a burger & fries about twice a month – so long as the frame for my workouts matches up with that – that the fuel & calorie needs I already burned or am about to burn require that. Either I make myself earn it first, or I plan it to be 2-3 days in front of a long run so I KNOW my body is fueled with enough protein for that run. The really good workout is the reward I get for eating well, not the other way around.

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