What A Difference A Year Makes

This time last year, I was in the midst of half marathon training. I was in Reno on a business trip, and I ran a 10K on a nice river path with a personal best time for me (and realized after that a race was happening and I could have signed up and gotten a medal for my run).

A full year before that, I had yet to run a mile. I didn’t go on runs. Exercise was walking.

This year, I’m not proud of my current state of health and fitness. I’m up 7 pounds from where I was in half marathon training (although I’m down 20 pounds from where I was the year before). It has been a month since my last run, and another month since the last run before that. If I’m honest with myself, I’ve been eating like complete shit for at least three months. I got a good fitness streak going in January and February, attending twice-weekly BodyPump classes at the YMCA, checking out spinning and other activities … but then I just stopped.

On the other hand, I’ve made tremendous progress on my dissertation compared to a year ago (I successfully made it through proposal and am in the midst of collecting data), and I have every indication that I will be Dr. Liz in less than 6 months. This is incredibly awesome and can’t be ignored. And although I have used it as an excuse (because there seems to be an inverse correlation between my academic progress and my health & fitness), I don’t think this progress had to occur at the expense of my health and fitness goals.

I’m also back on Weight Watchers, and trying to get motivated to actually work the program. Remember when I quit in a blaze of glory? Well, that’s also about the time I quit losing weight. Rereading that post now, I was blaming the program for some of my own failings. When I was not eating enough calories in a day but still at reasonable point target, I could have upped my calories by eating more fruits and vegetables (which don’t have point values on the Weight Watchers system). The day I reveled in eating 2,000 calories and scoffed at the equivalent Weight Watchers points, I didn’t factor in what I would have gained with Activity Points. I still believe that it is very possible for someone to use the Weight Watchers program as a tool for completely unsustainable weight loss. But I also think that with the right mindset, it can also be used to lose weight sustainably. The way diets are structured and exercise is done is up to the individual. I need to make better choices.

Where I Am Now

I currently weigh 180 pounds. This is 12 pounds heavier than my lowest weight while doing Weight Watchers. My goal remains the same: 135 pounds. So, I have 45 pounds to lose. Basically, what I’ve already done (which took two years and was a major accomplishment) needs to be done again.

I’m not regularly active, which is not helping. I want to be active at least 30 minutes per day. This really shouldn’t be hard. Worst-case scenario, if I can’t get outside I would throw on a podcast and walk around in circles in my house (or do the torturous 30-day shred again).

My eating is majorly inconsistent. I’m not cooking a much as I could/should, and when I go out I’ve been making some pretty terrible choices. I know better.

How I Will Get Where I Need To Be

I have the luxury of having a 5-day weekend this week. I scheduled a Monday – Wednesday “staycation” because I knew I needed a break from the daily grind. I’m going to use this time to hit the reset button and prepare myself for success. Today (Saturday) and tomorrow morning are largely dedicated to my academic goals, and Sunday afternoon – Wednesday will largely be dedicated to my health and fitness goals. I’ll get out for long walks (the weather is supposed to be gorgeous), restart my 5K running program, and take a long, hard look at my eating habits, get some meals planned, and think about sustainable routines that will support my healthy habits.

I need to recognize I can’t do this alone. While I’m still not a fan of Weight Watchers meetings (they tend to support some pretty disordered thinking), I need to seek support from others. This blog helps, and I hope to write more regularly here, if only to force myself to reflect on my habits and progress. My husband is also instrumental. I need to prioritize activities we can do together that are supportive of healthy habits, rather than detrimental. We love food and beer/wine, but my newfound love of spending ours at the local beer & burger joint (great craft beer selection!) probably needs to be examined. Perhaps he can still enjoy his beer, while I enjoy the time together and some seltzer water, or something. But we can also hike, walk, and try other activities. We’ve been talking about getting bikes for at last a year … maybe this is the year we’ll do that.

A big factor in whether or not I’m successful, in my opinion, is how I choose to spend my time between the end of the workday and the time my head hits the pillow at night. When I was successfully losing weight, I used this time to cook a healthy dinner, go for a run, and prepare my breakfast/lunch for the next day. I generally sat down on the couch only around 9:00 p.m. to do a little blogging and catch up on happenings from friends. Lately, I’m on the couch almost this entire time – up to 5 hours per night! I’m thinking about doing something drastic, like not allowing myself to sit on the couch until 8:00 or 9:00. We’ll see how that goes.

Now That That’s Off My Chest

I know I’m not the only person that has struggled with weight loss. Honestly, I’m incredibly thankful that I haven’t allowed myself to gain everything back (although I’ve gained back just over 20% of what I lost). Our society make it very easy to justify an unhealthy lifestyle. But a mindset change also exposes all of the supportive aspects of the same society – races and active community events, locally grown delicious, healthy meats and vegetables, and awesome healthy recipe and fitness blogs. I’m looking forward to continuing this journey to health and fitness after taking a brief detour. And I’d like to encourage anyone else that is struggling to get back on the bus with me.

4 thoughts on “What A Difference A Year Makes

  1. Thank you, Liz, for your openness about your exercise and (healthy diet) quest. I have often told myself that my internal self chooses what I will be paying attention – if work is stressful or at least over-committed, other areas of my life take a backseat. And vice versa. And it was always just an excuse.

    I’ve been stuck at a weight level for years. Nothing seemed to make a difference (even though deep down I knew I wasn’t as committed as I should – could – be. We joined a gym in January and I was pretty good about going because there was a monetary incentive plan. That’s gone and I don’t go as often. The good thing is that I miss it.

    I’m getting older and know that taking care of myself is getting more and more important. When I joined the gym, I half-jokingly told the owner I wanted to get guns (the arm kind, not the ones with bullets). I’ve started to refer to them as Granny Guns.

    I had started to believe that I wouldn’t make that goal. It was to be my sixtieth birthday present to myself.

    But then this blog crossed my newsfeed and I recognized things that I feel and am relieved to hear it’s not just me. Your idea about not sinking into the couch after work was my wake-up call. I don’t know how I’ll implement that or what I will fill that time with, but your relatively simple idea is genius – engage, be active, do the wash, rake leave. Be and do. That will be my first step towards getting Granny Guns by my birthday in October.

    I’m sorry this comment is so long. I want you to know that today’s blog didn’t simply disappear in the blogosphere. I read and it will make a difference for me. And, if you like I’ll show off those “guns” on October 27.

    Keep on fighting the good fight, Liz. Your stories are making a difference.

    1. You can totally get granny guns, Kate! My mom is working on them (she takes a class called “strong bones” at her local gym) and she’s a granny 6 times over!

      I’ve been thinking about what I can do to not sink into the couch after work. One thing is to give myself a good hour to cook when I get home from my days in the office. I love cooking, and if I plan the rest of my meals well I won’t be ravenous at 5:30. Another is cleaning (yikes!). I let the house get pretty nasty every few days, so if I spent some time cleaning up the kitchen or putting away clothes rather than sitting on the couch, that would be good. I also want to do something active, but going for a walk can get boring…so I think there will be some shiny new bikes in our garage soon. Maybe sometime we’ll need to trek them up to Stevens Point and do the Green Circle Trail!

      Thanks for reading and commenting 🙂

  2. Thank you for such an honest post. I could have written it myself. We are the same current weight with the same goal weight – and I’m also struggling with Weight Watchers.

    You’ve given me a lot to think about!

    1. Thanks for the comment, Mary Sue. I’m going to go check out your blog and add it to my reader right now! I made it out for a 45 minute walk with my husband last night, and I just got back from my first “run” of Week 1, Day 1 of the 5k Runner plan I used to get in shape in the first place. We can motivate each other!

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