For those of you who have been following this blog for a while you know I frequently blog about food, exercise, random stuff, food, exercise, food, exercise….afterall, I am a personal trainer. This is what I do, preach, hear from my clients, and end up talking about all the time. And I believe that these two things (what you eat and if/how you exercise) go hand in hand in a healthy and active lifestyle. So once again, I am going to “beat the dead horse” and share with you my Fuel 21 experience thus far. This could get lengthy, but I encourage you to read on if you have ever been the least bit psycho about what you eat and working out.
First off, I didn’t give a great explanation of what Fuel 21 is when I first blogged about it a few weeks ago. Let me start off by saying that I think this program is fantastic at teaching and encouraging people to eat real foods; to clean up their diet, and experience what it is like to stop eating crap and only rely on real, non-packaged, wholesome foods. And eventhough I eat this way most of the time, I wanted to go through the program to make myself be a little more disciplined than 80/20. However, I had no idea until my breakdown on Saturday that it would throw me back into my cycle of obsessing over the scale and an over preoccupation with food. As you can read here; I’ve been through a phase like this before and it wasn’t fun.
The Downward Spiral of Obsession
I think what triggered me to almost fall back into my old habits of starving myself and working out too much (which I completely preach against) was the realization that this program is only 21 days…which for someone like me, is not a lot of time to make significant changes to my body. I felt the pressure to be super strict with what I ate and force myself to workout twice a day because I didn’t want to be the only person in our group who didn’t see any changes when it comes time to do measurements. Our list of foods is more restrictive than I was expecting; which is what’s needed for people to get maximum results in 21 days and it makes complete sense. For me the hardest part has been no sweet potatoes, very little fruit (if any at all), and no protein drinks. I found myself getting the attitude of, “Well , I can’t eat what I want; so I’m just not going to eat at all” and that’s how I felt for most of last week.
The Run From Hell
Let me start this part off by saying I rarely have horrible runs. Most of my runs are fairly enjoyable and I usually feel great afterwards because it’s my favorite thing to do! However, this past Saturday Rick and I went for a short 4 mile-ish run on town lake and it started off ok. I had decided from the beginning that it was going to be just an easy, recovery run…a nice, relaxed run. At about 2 miles into the run I felt really tired, sore, and overall weak and to make matters worse Rick’s lead on me was becoming larger and larger which is not ok with me. Either we run together or I am in front…I don’t finish last! And so I was running by myself and as I was trying to hold back “feeling sorry for myself” tears I realized that my run had probably turned into a crap-fest because I was over worked, under nourished, over consumed with the fear of eating again…the fear of being a failure at something I should be able to control. I hated feeling this way in the past. I was becoming a self-consumed, obessive, no-fun-to-be-around Melisa; which I never wanted to be again.
When I met back up with Rick after our run he could tell I was upset and frustrated and said what every awesome husband should say, “I don’t know why you worry about this or do this to yourself…you look great just the way you are.” But as all us females know, that goes in one ear and out the other. However, I decided during my run that from past experiences I cannot function this way; I have a tendency, a history of becoming consumed and obsessed with food, and my “all or nothing” mentality can’t take it.
After our run, Rick and I went to a local nursing home to volunteer for our church. It was here that I had a serious reality check about feeling sorry for myself and having “the worst run in a long time”. I had a conversation with a 17 year old who had gotten into a serious car accident in January, he flew out of the car, was in a coma for 2 months, and came out with some slight brain damage and in a wheel chair….and here I was feeling sorry for myself because “I can’t eat what I want”, “my body was tired”, and “I had the worst run ever”. Immediately I felt ridiculous because first of all, a 17 year old is not supposed to be in a nursing home, and secondly, our lives are precious….too precious to be obsessed with my body fat, to be obsssed with what I eat, and to let it rule my life.
I Have Not Given Up
I’m still sticking with the remainder of the program, but the big difference is I am not going to let food rule my life and my thoughts like it had been the first 12 days. I will be spending time with family and friends this weekend and if I decide I want to have a drink or two, I just might. It won’t be the end of the world and afterall, I have nothing to prove. If I end up losing a few pounds, inches, body fat well great….but I know I still won’t have a six pack. I’ve come to terms with that. I don’t have, nor desire the dedication to be anywhere near 15% body fat. Some may think this is a poor attitude, but seriously…who walks around asking you what your body fat percentage is anyway? And I like to tell myself that I don’t need to have the “perfect” body because having my faults keeps me humble. Believe me, if I ever miraculously developed abs, I’d very quickly turn into that annoying person who always has their shirt off and flexing my stomach in the mirror like the douchey frat guys in a college rec center – and well, I don’t need to be that person.