Thursday, February 18, 2016

50 Shades of Cardio

Fact: Physical activity/working out should not be used as a form of punishment.

Confession: Just because I know it, doesn't mean I don't fall victim to it.

I know the REAL reason behind my motivation to make a change is that I wanted to go back to the lifestyle change I had made for myself and for my little family of 2 (2.5 if you count the fur baby) pre-baby.  I knew that in order to adult properly, we couldn't continue to live the way that we were: eating out every night instead of cooking at home, going out on weekends and eating whatever fast-food was quickest/easiest to pick up, sitting around at home after work and on weekends eating and watching movies or Netflix.  Don't get me wrong, it was super fun to do as DINKS, but that wasn't how I pictured life in the long term.  We joined a sports league and started cooking at home and slowly and surely, fitness was becoming a priority for us.  I was working at it slow and steady with the goal of sustainability.  No quick-fix diets or short-term "resets" or "cleanses".  And I think because I didn't really have any hardest goal in mind or was following any plan because I was in it for the long haul, it felt like it was more or less effortless when I look back on it now.  

I intended for the new year to start out on that journey again, and I still intend to, but of course life happens and I get carried away with things.  

When I started out again this past January, I thought it would be fun to get one of my co-workers to organize her yearly work weight-loss challenge.   She had done one right before I had gotten pregnant and a little over a year since I made that first initial change.  That last time, I was a little over a year and a half into the lifestyle change and had already lost about 50 lbs or so.  I remember it being super motivating as I am super competitive.  It helped me lose 15 more lbs before I found out I was pregnant and started eating for 80 (as opposed to 2).  

Now that I was starting out again, I thought it would be an added incentive and motivator to get that challenge going and to make sure my butt sticks to it this time since I'd had some false starts before.  

Now fast-forward to today and I'm starting to wonder if it's a good thing for me.  I want everything that I'm doing fitness and health-wise to be natural and something that I can maintain, but I think I'm letting my competitive side get the best of me and I'm losing sight of my original goal. 

When I say I want what I'm doing to be sustainable, I am really thinking a lot about my "diet" which I mean nutrition and overall food choices.  I wanted to clean up a majority of what I was eating but I never intended on being restrictive because I know I'll never be able to maintain that given my tendency to just go all in once I've started down the delicious fast-food path.  

I want a healthy relationship with food where I do not fear it or treat it as a rewards. However, it is also my goal to be able to make good choices a majority of the time a natural habit and not a chore or something that I am forcing myself to do.

Today was not the easiest days for me food-wise.  A lot of things going on including celebrations and of course with celebration comes food.  My department had a birthday, and with a staff of 7, it was kind of hard to duck out on birthday cake or decline even though I'm sure my coworkers would have understood.  And at the end of the day, I want to live a life where I can participate in the fellowship that usually comes with celebrations, so I didn't even protest when I was handed a plate.  With it, the boss treated us to coffees and everyone knows my love affair with iced coffee so I was handed one that was made as per usual.  

After this, an E-Mail update was sent out about the challenge and the places were announced for the first time.  Everyone (including myself) was surprised to learn that I was currently in second place.  ("WHAT?!?!") 

So of course, after a moment of allowing myself an indulgence, I was left feeling guilty about "giving in" and I worrying about the fact that it's my Dad's birthday and we're going out for dinner but tomorrow is the weekly weigh-in day.  

Fast forward and I ate whatever I wanted at dinner (it was an all-you-can-eat sushi place that brings out small selections of whatever you order but I sure ate everything that was brought out!) and I get home and instead of just doing the scheduled workout, I also did a half hour on the treadmill.  

I wouldn't think anything of it if it was because I just had so much energy and just really felt like I wanted to workout.  But it wasn't.  

All of a sudden, I'm trying to workout to make up for what I ate.  While I recognized that that's not what I want to be doing, it didn't stop me from doing it anyway.  Halfway through the second workout (Insanity Max:30 - Sweat Intervals) I found myself thinking, "Hope that extra piece of cream cheese wonton was worth it!"

And now here I am feeling guilty that I felt like I had to do (and did) a double workout to just come close to making up for what I ate today because I want to win a 10-Week challenge at work.

I'm wondering if I'm overthinking things as usual and making too much of a big deal about something that isn't.  Should I just hammer down and do what I feel like I can take to try my best to win the challenge and when it's over then scale it back?  I feel like recognizing that I shouldn't be trying to work off a bad diet is already a good step and because I'm aware of it, I'll be okay to realize that I need to stop after the challenge is over?  

At the end of the day, I did an hour workout.  If I had done a regular Insanity workout that is over an hour long, would I feel as guilty as I do now for working out for over an hour because I ate out for an actual reason and not just because I felt like it? the end of the day, what's done is done and I can reset and restart fresh again tomorrow.  Perhaps after this challenge is over, it's a good idea not to join another one for a while until I establish some better habits.  At the very least, all this warring and over-complicating matters made a half hour run go by pretty fast with minimal suffering!  

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