Sunday, April 15, 2012
Sometimes Maintaining Is Enough...
My birthday is going to be in 2 weeks (and one day...but who's counting?!?) I had a goal that I wanted to hit. And I'm not going to hit it. Not even going to be close to it. And the closer we get to my birthday, the more disappointed I become. I wanted to weigh less than 200 pounds by my 45th birthday. Somehow, I see those 5's and 0's at the end of an age as significant. Milestones of a sort. And this year, I have a 5. I am also close enough to that goal that had I really pushed myself, I could have hit it. But I won't. Because although I set the goal and wanted the goal, there's something I didn't do. I didn't work for it.
Oh, I've been working. On lots of things. I've even been working out. All year long, actually. Through some pretty overwhelming pain at times. I've had a flare up recently of my arthritis that is making every day life pretty painful, actually. On my "Angie" pain scale, I can usually be found somewhere between 3 and 4...lately I've been about 6-ish. This is my stopping limit for my workouts...and it's where I've been BEGINNING them. So I get in the gym, move, and don't push hard...because if I do, I know I'm going to have to shut it down and go home for anti-inflammatory meds and ice.
What I've been doing since January 6th when I hit my 100 pound milestone is maintaining. As of today, I've lost 103 pounds. That's nothing to be ashamed of, I know. And I'm not. I'm very proud of that accomplishment. I worked hard for it. But you see, that's the thing. I WORKED HARD to achieve it. Lately, I've been working...just not working hard. And this week, I've been examining myself to figure out why that has been true for the past several months.
I believe the arthritis flare up is a contributing factor to this. I go to the gym because I have to...because I know if I do what I WANT to do and come home and rest these tired, achy legs, eventually I won't be able to walk. I know that I have to push through some pain to make sure I don't bring even greater pain on myself. I get that...am well acquainted with it...and do it. But I'm not working out hard. The pain pisses me off, actually! I'm so tired of my knees hurting all the time! I'm just doing enough to maintain the health benefits I've already established. I'm not improving my health lately. I'm just not letting it deteriorate.
I believe a little bit of apathy has also settled into my diet. I'm not eating emotionally, which is a good thing given what I know about myself...and given the wide range of emotions I've been dealing with lately! (Side note: entering menopause SUCKS! Just putting that out there!) But, I'm also not always making healthy choices when I eat either. Take this week for example...I had a quick dinner on Thursday night that I haven't eaten in a long time...a Quarter Pounder with cheese. I used to love these burgers....ate a few a week, I'm sure at some points in my life...but this week, I ate it because I was tired, it was quick, and it was on sale (buy one get one for a penny...that's just mean!). And then...because my body is no longer accustomed to eating fried, calorie-heavy foods...I promptly had stomach pain and intestinal upset for the rest of the night. So what did I do the next night? Had fried chicken! In the grand scheme of things, two really bad dinner choices this week are not going to kill me. I know that. And I'm not even beating myself up over it. I've taken accountability for that...and I ate really well yesterday. I'm not allowing myself to slip into the pattern of who I used to be. But I do sense a bit of apathy in myself lately. I just didn't want to care about what I ate this week. And it showed by the choices I made.
I believe the bigger part of why I'm not working harder on my health goals, however, is that I am having to work a LOT harder on many other things in my life. These are not things I'm comfortable or even able to put out here for public consumption on this blog. But they are things you all face, too...career stress, parenting stress, physical health stress, relationship stress. It's nothing new. But there's a BUNCH of it in my life right now. More than I ever remember having I think. And right now, I'm working so hard to keep myself sane and happy that there's just not a lot of energy left over to focus on my health goals. I'm happy that I haven't slid back into old, unhealthy patterns of life while under this stress, but I also haven't pushed myself to keep moving forward. In short, I'm maintaining.
What I determined this week is that sometimes, for me, maintaining is going to have to be enough. At first I saw everything I just described to you as excuses. And I hate excuses. But they're not. They're reasons. And there's a difference.
I'm not looking to excuse myself from essentially not losing weight since the beginning of the year. Because excusing myself from it would mean that I felt like I NEEDED an excuse. I don't. I'm really OK with where I am right now.
On the other hand, seeing these things as REASONS why I haven't lost weight helps me see that when these situations in my life are dealt with and managed, I am still going to be healthy (maybe even healthier), and I'm going to be ready to lose weight again...to expend more energy toward reaching my health goals.
In other words...sometimes, maintaining is enough. And that's not a cop out for not hitting a goal of mine. It's truth. And truth is what I base my life on.
So, there you have it. :-)