Off the Rails
The day before spring break, a little panicked about our upcoming road trip to see my family, I sat down with Andy. First we discussed my progress over the last two weeks. Per my agreed to goals, I’d been carefully tracking food for a solid two weeks. For the most part, I’d stuck with my daily calorie goals. My strength and conditioning training was making me feel stronger. I felt pretty good.
Because I was feeling fitter and maybe a bit smaller, I decided not to weigh-in, afraid if there were no changes on the scale I’d be discouraged before my trip and make terrible choices because of it. I don’t know if it’s just me, but when I’m working as hard as I have been, to see no changes is disheartening enough to awaken my inner rebel. She speaks to me in a mean voice inside my head, like the devil on my shoulder. “Screw it, no matter what you do, you’re still a porker. Tell them to pass the fries and a glass of wine. Heck, throw in a cheeseburger and a cookie too.”
I confessed to Andy my fears about the trip, and we discussed some strategies. Andy asked that I continue to track my food, to leave food on the plate at restaurants, and if I knew where we were going to eat, to plan what I was going to order before we got there. “Always have a plan,” he said.
So off I went, protein bars stashed in my purse for emergencies. I could do this, I told myself. Staying on track even on vacations is not impossible.
Yeah, and then I went off the rails. Hardcore off the rails.
It started with the pizza. The first night we arrived, tired from a nine-hour drive, we decided to meet my family for pizza at a little place in my hometown. I worked there in high school and the kids have heard countless stories about how delicious the pizza is. I ordered the Taco pizza, which is something I would eat every single day if I could get away with it and still fit in my skinny jeans. As suspected, it was as good as I remembered. So good. I told myself to just have one small slice and let the kids have the rest. But, you know, there it was in front of me all cheesy with those delicious refried beans, and it was so good…well, you know the rest. I did not leave any on the plate.
It went downhill from there. The mornings consisted of delicious breakfasts at the B&B, including muffins, waffles, toast and bacon. I didn’t turn any of it down. I could have, but I didn’t. And I chose not to track it. Not one day. The psychology of which is baffling. I’ve been laser focused on preparing for my Spartan races and losing these six blasted pounds of fat before the wedding, and yet, I couldn’t sustain it on our trip. I couldn’t even sustain the tracking, which I suppose is because I didn’t really want to face how off the rails I truly was.
One afternoon Cliff and I escaped the kids to visit some local wineries for tasting. Not only wine, but a decadent lunch. We ordered the cheese and fresh bread platter. It came with a little cup of chocolates. Thinking we both had one, I gobbled the entire cup by myself. As we laughed about it, I looked out over acres of grapes and was seized with a small moment of clarity. It was a beautiful day. We were sipping delicious wine and eating fine-crafted cheese, in love and so happy to be together for a little date under a cloudless Oregon sky. We would never get that moment back. Was I going to waste it by thinking about my weight instead of getting lost in the moment with my favorite person in the world? How many moments had I lost in the throes of self-hatred? Too many to count. Just be in the moment, I thought, instead of spending it feeling like a failure. A fat failure. A couple days off the rails is okay, as long as I get back on track. Denying pleasure isn’t always the answer. Sometimes it’s okay to enjoy the rich offerings of this life.
So that’s it, friends, I spent the week off the rails, and yet I didn’t beat myself up over it like I used to. Perhaps it’s because I know that when I returned to ‘real’ life I would continue my disciplined ways with the tools Andy and Derek are giving me so that I can continue to make progress. With that in mind, I gave myself credit for the good choices. I hadn’t eaten a single French fry. In the mornings, Cliff and I had taken long runs that I would never have been able to do last year, improving my overall times by about two minutes a mile. Except for the aforementioned chocolate, I’d avoided dessert. Only a few chips had passed my lips.
On a bit of a side note, I’ve been experimenting with avoiding gluten. Except for last week on vacation and the one week in February when we were in to Mexico, I’ve been gluten free. It’s been a life-changer: no bloating, my skin clear of blemishes, no digestive issues. However, the very first day of vacation, I scarfed down some bread with my sandwich. The good news? I’ve confirmed that I have a gluten intolerance because I became bloated and my face broke out. The bad news? No more bread for me. Or maybe that’s the good news?
Anyway, it’s Thursday and I’ve been back on track since Sunday morning. I’m sore and a little hungry, but I know that all my hard work will eventually bring rewards of the best kind, optimal fitness and health.
Until next time, stay tough, my friends, but not so tough you miss out on those precious moments you can’t ever get back. Life’s short, with or without chocolate.