Actually, it would be more accurate to say that I jumped off the wagon. Except my wagon isn’t just a workout wagon. My wagon is a high maintenance, high protein, sweaty, fruit and vegetable cart.
After three months of living in my workout clothes and having very little to show for it, I took a break. I stopped working out for about two weeks. I drank wine. I ate pizza, burritos and Halloween candy.
It was a little scary at first. I had become so routine with my workouts and I was following a very structured whole foods diet for about a month, purging my house of so many unhealthy processed foods. So the first time I allowed myself to eat a slice of pizza, I did so with trepidation. Isn’t that ridiculous? As if the cheese on my pizza or the pizza crust would cause my body to instantly self-destruct the moment I swallowed it. That’s how I felt. When you educate yourself and understand what you’re really putting into your body when you eat processed, preservative and chemical laced foods, it really can be a bit scary when you knowingly choose to ignore that knowledge and eat it anyway.
But eat it, I did. And it was sooooooo good! I wish I could tell you I didn’t miss it. I wish I could tell you that eating healthier whole foods for a period of time had erased my love of sugar and complex carbohydrates, but that would be a lie of ginormous proportions.
I didn’t completely lose my mind. I followed the general outlines of my diet for the most part, still eating a lot of protein and high fiber carbs. But if I wanted some chocolate after dinner, or an extra glass of wine with my meal during my little hiatus, I indulged. One morning I ate toast with white, fluffy, delicious bread and Jif Peanut Butter. Another night I had pizza because I was sick to death of cooking. For me, that’s the hardest part of trying to eat clean. You have to prepare everything yourself from all fresh, natural, organic ingredients. The meals I cook taste great, but that’s a lot of meal preparation when you eat five times a day and still have a thousand other things that have to get done between the kids, work, housework, homework, etc… There is no convenient opening a package and putting it in the microwave. No take out. No delivery. No restaurants. I miss restaurants.
Surprisingly, I didn’t gain any weight. To date, I’m down six pounds, still averaging about a half pound a week. Trying to eat healthy all the time, workout every day, and still not see more noticeable physical results for weeks and weeks is very defeating. Some days it makes me question why I deprive myself at all. Why put myself through this hard work and abstain from all the delicious foods, convenience and restaurants I enjoy for a measly six pounds?
And the answer is that because losing six pounds is better than gaining six pounds. Being less tired and having more energy is worth it. Showing my kids that no matter how slow and frustrating the process can be, that mommy isn’t going to give up, makes it worth it. Knowing I’m slowly improving my health and the overall health of my family through being more conscientious of our physical activity and eating habits makes it worth it. It’s not a sexy answer, or a fun one. But it’s the truth.
After two weeks of lazy self-indulgence, I don’t feel any better for it. Oh sure, I enjoyed my Halloween candy, but not to the point where I can give up all the hard work I’ve done thus far. So today, I chased down my wagon. I’ve realized that I need the foundation of that metaphorical wagon to build on for my continued success. The wagon helps me with focus and temperance. It’s a symbol, or a reminder of what I am trying to accomplish. There might be some gaps in the boards of that wagon, where occasionally chocolate and cheese can creep through, or a bottle of wine, but as long as the foundation is solid, I can live with that.
Here’s to the next six pounds! 🙂