One of the benefits of maintaining a blog for a couple of years now is that I can start looking back at previous years and seeing how I am doing compared to the previous years at the same time. I was more than a little surprised to find that last year my 12/29 entry was almost identical to what I was going to write today. I’m fed up with holidays. I can’t wait for January to start. I have a plan for a new regime… Whoa, reality check time. Am I just a bunch of b.s.? Am I any closer to finding myself or achieving my goals? Am I really just treading water? Has all of my effort this year been just so I can maintain but not get ahead? That’s a little disheartening….
I didn’t go swim today. I just wasn’t feeling it. Instead I went for a run. I repeated the same run I did on Tuesday, 1:30 minutes, Westside highway north. I did really well. I didn’t have my heartrate monitor on, but I had a great run. I was really running. I was very pleased. I had a little breakthrough. While running up a hill I kept saying “just make sure one foot lands in front of the other — don’t do that running half a step thing you do.” When I got to the top of the hill I tried to keep that going. Lifting my knee to feel my feet going in front of me. That produced the old up and down feeling I know is not correct. This time, however, I thought to keep that knee lift while leaning and see what happened. I am shocked to say I think I was really running. I mean really running. Although about 40 people passed me, I locked in on two different people and passed them. And they weren’t walking!! That’s huge for me. I was very pleased. Very pleased.
I went off to my WW meeting ready to pay my penalty for a week of not only being off plan, I was in what I call heiress mode. Wining and dining the high life as if I was entitled to be noshing on caviar and blinis, wine and cheese, chips and dip, wine and cheese (yes, I am aware I wrote wine and cheese twice….) Although I did manage to exercise every day, I know for sure that I did not work off the extra calories I consumed (oh yeah, I forgot about the cookies and wine and cheese). I didn’t exercise before my meeting this morning so I knew that was going to make me look at least 1 pound heavier than last week and I was right. I registered in a whopping 3 pounds heavier. Happy New Year to me! I knew it was wine bloat (’cause yes, even last night I was out having… you guessed it, wine and cheese….) So I took my slap on the wrist and sat down in the meeting (which, by the way, was the last place on the planet I wanted to be.)
As usual, when I least want to be at a meeting is when I get the most out of it. It turned out to be one of the great meetings. We have a lot of great meetings, but I got a little extra something out of today. When I got there they were talking about “the extra bite.” Apparently the average extra bite of food is 50 calories. Sounds harmless enough. That’s about 1 WW pt. You take one extra bite of food a day (granted we are talking about an extra bite of Mac and Cheese not an extra bite of cucumbers) that comes to an extra 18,250 calories per year. Divide that by the 3,500 calories it takes to make an extra pound and you have an extra 5 pounds a year that you pack on by just always taking that extra bite. Okay those numbers were a little alarming. But if you think about it, the reverse works as well. Take one less bite than you normally would, every day for a year and you’ll drop 5 pounds….. Or so the logic goes.
The point is the little things add up. Replace that cream in your coffee with skim milk — that’s a “bite” a day. Switch from full fat dressing to fat free dressing — that’s a “bite” a day. Heck, cut your dessert in half and that’s a couple of bites a day…. Let’s not even mention the wine…. All the little things add up.
Of course I was sitting there thinking, “Okay, I gained 3 pounds this week. That’s, gasp, an extra 30 bites a day. That’s more than a whole day’s worth of points!!!” I wondered out loud “how the heck did I eat that much?” One of my good friends in the meeting looked at me (smiling), raised her cupped hand to her lips and tipped up her elbow. Oh yeah, wine and cheese. Let’s see 30 sips a day ? Oh yeah, I averaged that easily…. Ugh…. I’ve been out socializing with different friends just about every night. Thank goodness the Purple Teeth Challenge starts on Monday at midnight (30 days no drinking.)
As the meeting was coming to an end I had to admit I was feeling quite the failure. Has another year gone by and I still haven’t lost any more weight. Yes I’ve maintained my loss from 2oo5 but goodness 2006 and 2007, no real net loss? Just maintaining? That’s pathetic!! I feel like I work so hard and yet all I have to do is backslide one week and I’m back at square one. I’m in the same place as I was last year. This is crazy, what’s wrong with me?
Then our wise leader, Maggie, closes the meeting with a New Year’s thought. I was ready for it. She was going to ask us what our goals were for the new year… I was trying to come up with something different from last December. Maybe my goals are all wrong, maybe I need to redefine my goals to shake things up. Instead she said “what are you most proud of for 2007? what did you do right?” I think the whole room had been busily thinking ahead just as I had been because we all stopped and stared at her with that glazed look of the student given the pop-quiz. Whaaa? Proud of last year??? A lot of people in the room had been talking about the weight they had lost, the new clothes they were wearing, the new lease on life they were experiencing for the first time. I was beginning to feel that sinking feeling of a big, fat failure. Chap. Another year and I’m not at goal.
On the count of ten we were to all yell out the one thing we were most proud of for 2007. 10, 9… I really didn’t know what to say. 8, 7… I’m proud of not losing another pound? 6,5…. I’m proud of not finishing the Ironman? 4,3….I’m proud to still be running a 12 minute mile? 2… This was not a fun assignment at all…
And then it hit me. 1… From somewhere deep down inside (sometimes those other little voices come in handy) a voice yelled out into the din… “I didn’t quit.” And, as often happens when you hear a truth, the tuning fork of my soul repeated back a perfectly pitched “right, I didn’t quit.” Okay, I’m not where I wanted to be but it is not for the lack of trying. I could have quit. I could have said “okay, Ironman is just not supposed to happen” or “I’ll never lose weight” or “forget this running stuff, I’ll never get it… I’m too old, too fat, too whatever…” But I didn’t say that. I don’t believe that. Yes, I’m surprised it is taking me longer to get to where I want to go, but I haven’t quit. And, I’m even more proud of the fact that I know in my heart that I won’t quit tomorrow either….
Okay instead of a quote for today, I am extending an invitation to anyone who wants to join me for the Purple Teeth Challenge. 30 days in January, no drinking!!! No, you can’t join if you don’t drink. This is the third year we are doing this. It is a symbolic way to start the new year. It’s a declaration of our intention to try to be a little healthier. Start Jan 1st or Jan 2nd, 30 consecutive days. Join our Yahoo Group and we give each other pep talks and tell stories of our amazing feats of willpower in the face of birthdays, office parties, first-dates, second-dates.
Send an email to our yahoo group PurpleTeethChallengeemail@example.com. If you can’t join that way, send me an email and I’ll send you an invite.
This is a photo my friend and artist Robin Noble took at Ironman Lake Placid this year. Here is the flip side.