Well, hello. I’m still around. The holiday craziness has finally passed and I’m taking the time to get re-focused … and not a minute too soon, I’m afraid. Like many that have struggled with weight issues and maintenance, I have quite easily slipped into some old habits. Mindless eating. Eating to soothe emotional pain. “Holiday” eating with very little regard to calorie consumption. I really just kinda gave myself a “pass” the last few weeks. I’ve done this before, but I was usually exercising very regularly and at an intensity that counter-balanced much of the damage. Not so much the past few weeks. After my half marathon, I sort of took a break from running – mainly to let my very sore legs heal up and also because I used the “I’m too busy” excuse as we cruised into Christmas week. I saw a couple of memes the other day that pretty much summed it up:
I have decided that, somewhere along the way, I have developed a pretty bad sugar addiction. I don’t believe I really had this issue before – before I started on Optifast, my snacking “drug” of choice was always salty-crunchy things . One would think after living on nothing but the sweet chocolate Optifast shakes and bars for 6 months that returning to salty-crunchy things would be welcomed, but I find now that desserts/sugar are far more addicting and I really don’t crave chips, fries, etc. much any more. Weird. Unfortunately, there was no shortage of desserts and candy in our home the past few weeks – and I did next to nothing to reduce the amount either (other than reducing them by eating them!) I also did absolutely no food logs or calorie counting, I can only imagine how many calories I consumed in sugar while not focusing on the “core” eating principles which have helped me for a couple of years now, protein and more protein.
Add to this mess the stress of the holidays and, later, I determined, a pretty good amount of depression with suppressing my sadness a bit over the holidays over losing my dad. It didn’t really hit me until a day or so before Christmas Eve when my husband asked me what I wanted to do that night. Traditionally, that was the night we spent with my dad. His family was always “Christmas Eve” people – they often even opened every single present at night. It was really odd thinking that we just were going to have “one” family to celebrate with this year – his family (which I adore, but for 19+ years we have been with my family one night and my husband’s the next). And, as it turned out, we didn’t really do anything special that night. I was coming down with a cold and stressed about hosting XMAS day meals at our house the next day – I also had a ton of wrapping and planning to do. I ended up having an Optifast shake as my Christmas eve meal and got as much done as I could before going to bed. I shed a few tears that night (and I am again now just thinking about it). There was definitely a void in my heart – and I tried to fill it with cookies and treats but that didn’t help any.
Anyway, after eating an enormous amount of calories on Christmas Day as well, I was so relieved on the day after Christmas, the day that I consider to be the best of the year for busy moms, that I slept and lounged around all day. By this time, I had not exercised in close to a week and I was feeling more and more like a sloth. I also think the more you get into the habit of not doing anything, sleeping in, and taking naps, the more tired you get. Or, maybe my body is saying “oh thank God, you are finally taking a break!” Hard to say, but the last few days I felt more and more tired and less and less motivated. Finally, last night, a little red flag went up in my brain that alerted me to the fact that I was probably exhibiting a few of the classic symptoms of depression. This has not really been an issue in my life – despite all the recent events – but I do think I, like many people, can be prone to short bouts of it given the circumstances. And, often, as soon as I recognize what is going on I am able to start to think and feel my way out of it. I consider this a blessing and, I realize, many are not able to with more severe cases. I also had the added take-down of my monthly visitor showing up with crazy cramping this month and fueling my lack of desire to get up and exercise (as an aside, I haven’t been keeping up with the iron supplements quite as much lately and I wonder if that is why this month’s cycle has hit me harder than others have….?)
So, anyway, I am happy to say that I took a few steps in the right direction today. My eating has been pretty decent. I had intended to go for a really long run. I have been putting that off for too long. However, my cramping was pretty bad and the Motrin was not taking the edge off so I finally opted for a shorter run. It was a good compromise, considering I had not done much running lately and going for a 10 miler was probably stupid and unreasonable. Just getting out the door was a huge step today. It didn’t suck as bad as I thought – but it sure wasn’t pretty either. I ran a straight 5K, for that I was a pretty grateful. It was slower than I would have liked, but I ran the whole thing and tried out my new Camelbak Marathoner hydration vest (loved it so far!)
I think I’m emerging from my funk. I think I’ll give myself a few days away from the scale to shed some water weight and allow my period bloating to subside a bit. I know my weight is up. I haven’t felt my tummy so big in a while. My clothes still fit, but I noticed they are a bit snug and not quite as loose. I’m estimating I put on at least 5 pounds. Not good, but not catastrophic. I think I will most likely order some Optifast from the office this week and get back to what I know works. I need to get some of this weight off in the next couple of weeks before the next half marathon on January 18th or my legs will really be killing me in that race. The good news is that my run today really cleared my head and set me pointing in the right direction. I was also so happy to be reading posts from my Solemates on Facebook tonight to help me feel not alone in this struggle. It is going to be alright. I’ve done this before. I’ll do it again.