Wednesday, 9 January 2013

Lessons learnt

About three years ago, I set out to lose 30 kg. I lost 22... and then lost track. So close, yet still so far. About a year ago I set out to finish what I had started... I failed. Oh boy, did I fail. Out of the 22 kg I had lost, 12 are now back with a vengeance.

So I've been thinking. What went wrong second time around? I found a recipe that worked for me the first time around, so why did I fail so miserably the second? And why the heck did I let things get so out of control in the first place?

Answering that second question is fairly easy: I guess I lost focus, got sidetracked by life. All the usual excuses.

I think I failed the second time because I had succeeded previously. "But that doesn't even make sense" you say. Well it does actually. It makes perfect sense. Because second time I knew what I had achieved before, and so achieving those things a second time... well, it just wasn't motivating in the same way because every day I remembered where I had been, and got pissed off with myself for letting that slip.

Take running for instance. I started running after already losing a few pounds. I set out with no fancy equipment, just a pair of old running shoes and some baggy tracksuit bottoms. No music, no Nike+ to track my time, speed and distance, no heart rate monitor - no fancy schmancy gear. Just me, my legs and the sound of myself panting away like a stranded whale. I had fairly rapid progress back then and decided music might be a welcome addition. And so it was. I traded in my running shoes for a new pair and somehow found the courage to wear lycra in public. Whoa! And after a while I discovered Nike+ and it gave me a huge motivation boost. Of course, by then I had already reached a certain level of fitness, but it was my first time and I had no benchmarks to measure my progress, other than "wow, I have never been this fit before!" Of course that was going to be motivating!

The second time around, I reached for the music, the Nike+ and the heart rate monitor straight away. But this time around they were not motivating at all. Quite the opposite - they just became reminders of what I had once achieved and then let slip. Depressing as hell, let me tell you! No wonder I quit!

This time around, I have decided it's back to basics again. At least for the first month. OK, the running shoes and -tights are here to stay, but other than that I'm back to just plodding along. No gadgets to tell me what my heart rate is or how fast slow I'm going or what distance I've covered. As long as I get out there, get out of breath and and work up a good sweat, that will be enough enough for now. In a few weeks time, when I don't feel like I am about to die after jogging 2.5k, I might start adding the gadgets again.

MY GOAL: I want to get back to the point where running is like meditation, and something I actually look forward to!

I'm also re-joining the gym tomorrow. I fancy doing some proper strength training from the word go this time round. Hopefully I'll pluck up the courage to ask some of the regulars for advice and hope that they'll take pity on the noob.

MY GOAL: To get strong, in both body and mind.

Food wise, my brain knows what it takes, but my body screams "nooooooooooo!" with each and every cell. After much trial and error, I have found that a low-carb approach is what works for me, but I am such a carb-addict, so this is gonna take some time and dedication. One I get through the worst bit, I know I will feel better. I'll be less bloated, less tired, less grumpy and generally just a nicer person inside and out. I'm gonna have to work on some strategies for dealing with slips and temptations. One such strategy is preparation, preparation, preparation. I have to take the time to plan my shopping and my meals. To make packed lunches. To stock up on ingredients to make low-carb treats for when desperation hits and I need chocolate now.

I will also have to confront my long standing and complex emotional issues with food head on, but that's for another post - it's way past bedtime already!

MY GOAL: To not aim for perfection, but also strive to eat mindfully and give my body the nutrients it needs and deserves. To address my emotional eating patterns.

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