What happens when one falls off the fitness/health wagon? Well, it usually involves a slippage in exercise and a slide into a vat of chocolate...or french fries, or both. Chocolate french fries?
During this time of slipping and sliding I usually continue to weigh myself. Having gone down this path myself a few times I've noticed something very evil happens. I don't gain weight, at least not for a few weeks. I think there are several reasons for this.
#1: For the first couple of weeks of said fall I might actually still be exercising now and again. I read somewhere that it only takes half the work to maintain fitness gains as it took to obtain them in the first place. So, if you're only doing 1/4th of what you used to do you're still maintaining something.What does this all mean? It means we get taken for a ride. I tell myself, "Wow, I've finally figured this out. I can eat like a regular person, exercise just a little and maintain my weight." I really fall for the lie, and hard. So hard that I carry on with my merry ways, happily eating french fries and pizza, sitting on my ass watching Jeopardy after work, all the while thinking I've finally mastered weight maintenance. And then...
#2: Most of my meals are probably still relatively healthy. These first two reflect that I don't fall off the wagon in one heavy thud, right? I slowly lose my grip, slowly slide down to the edge, and my good habits slowly fall by the wayside.
#3: The metabolism remains high for a while. It's not like I lose all that good, hard-earned muscle overnight. I continue to burn through the calories at a higher rate even though my exercise might not be regular anymore.
#4: The reverse of the old muscle weighs more than fat line. As you lose muscle and gain fat your weight stays the same. Evil. Your clothes might be getting snug but the final arbiter, The Scale, tells you all is well. And since we've conditioned ourselves that The Scale Knows All, we fool ourselves into listening to it again. Like I've said many times before, the scale only tells part of the story.
The weight gain starts. And when it does it's usually too late. I've fallen off the wagon entirely and it's gone on down the road without me. I can't even see it anymore. And the weight gain is gradual, it's a 1/2 pound here, a pound there. I start adjusting my acceptable weight standards. This really helps with the denial, "160 is still pretty good,"... "165 isn't bad,"... "170? I guess I can live with that." Right around here is where I might stop weighing myself altogether. Bigger denial. This isn't happening, I am not gaining weight.
Does any of this sound familiar? I realized the other day how well I know this path. I realized I could write it out in steps I know it so well. And it's that trick at the beginning that really helps to let us live the denial, believe the lie we've always wanted to be true.
I am writing about this because I am facing some challenges in maintaining my healthy eating and exercising routine, but I don't think I am falling off the wagon. It's possible this is the biggest case of denial ever. So big that I'm actually blogging about it but saying it doesn't apply to me. But I don't think so. I think the difference is that I am writing about it, thinking about it, weighing myself, watching. I am not telling myself, "By George I think I've got it! I can eat pizza, sit on my couch and not gain weight!". I am facing some unique challenges right now. More to come, I promise.
I'd love to hear your thoughts on this wagon falling business.
Moving on...What's on tap for this weekend? Oh wait! Before I forget. I signed up for a sprint tri. It's the same one I did back in late June, Tri for Fun. They do it three times a summer and this is the final one. It's next weekend, August 16th. I am really excited. I decided I needed something to boost morale around here. And what better way to do it than cross a finish line?
So, this weekend...Well, Miguel's out playing golf. Actually, he just called to ask if I want to join him post-golf at IHOP for breakfast. I passed :) So, when he gets home we're heading to the pool for some swimming. I really enjoy swimming. Swimming is the sport most people give as the reason they won't do a tri. I just don't get that, so I guess I'm lucky. I find swimming so easy and relaxing. I think it's the fact that my weight is supported.
After the pool we're going to watch the Carrera de San Rafael, a big bike race in downtown San Rafael. I'm excited to see the roadies flying by! And there's supposed to be a big expo nearby. Right up my bike path! Tomorrow (Sunday) I'm going into SF for One Hawaii, a Hawaiian music concert in the park. The weather should be great and I can't wait to sample some of my favorite Hawaiian foods that I am sure will be for sale. Aloha everyone!