I have had family visiting for the last month. As a result I have barely cooked (why cook when Mommy makes your favorite meals?) Gone out to dinner far more than usual (no cooking or cleaning? I am so in), and I haven’t worked out at all. (Why exercise when you can hang out with Grandma?) As a result I have had a lovely, wonderful month along with my mother and mother-in-law, and my kids have had a ton of quality time with their grandmothers. Truly blissful. Here’s the downside. I’m bloated, my skin is broken out, my rash is back, and my pants are so tight that I need to lay down on the bed to zip them up. I need to get back on the healthful living wagon ASAP.
So around a week ago, I said this is enough. I know that I feel better the less meat I eat so I stopped eating meat. I tried not to eat the cake my Mom bought (ok, maybe just a small piece), upped my fluids and worked out. Twice. I should be right back at where I was a month ago, right? Wrong. I’m still bloated, my skin still looks bad, my rash is stable, and I’m 7 lbs heavier! (yes, I do always tell my clients to gauge by how their clothes fit but my clothing is so tight I needed to see the naked truth) Makes me want to give up entirely and accept this as my new reality. That would be easy, right?
It would be easy but would only contribute to my unhappiness. Here’s the deal: if we take a month, or two weeks, or 6 months off, we are not going to get to where we were in one week or even a few weeks. No matter how good we are. We need to take small steps to get our fitness and food back to where it was. How to accomplish this? Two ways. Set realistic goals and know your limits.
If I say that I’m quitting meat, dairy, sugar and wheat ASAP AND exercising everyday AND I’m going to be drinking 70 ozs of water AND meditating daily AND cooking all my snacks from scratch AND banning all processed food AND learning Mandarin, it doesn’t seem realistic that I will accomplish even one of those goals. So I need to focus on 1-2 attainable goals for the next 1-2 weeks. So last week was meat, and I also went back to swishing oil (oil pulling) and drinking lemon water. This week my goal is to exercise. I’m aiming for 2-3 days this week. I am also back trying to drink roughly 65 oz of water a day. Next week I will set new goals and all the little goals will eventually add up to my losing the weight and bloat I’ve accumulated.
Speaking of exercise, just because I could swing 30 lbs kettle bells a month ago doesn’t mean I can now. If you take time off from exercise because of laziness (in my case) or because of injury, your body is going to get softer! If you dive right back into where you were, you will get hurt. So start small. For me, I’m playing with 7 lb weights instead of the kettlebells. And they are kicking my ass. If we go too hard, our body will rebel and hurt. Chances are the pain will keep you from trying again until it goes away. It’s a self fulfilling prophesy, it hurts when I work out so I don’t work out but I feel bad when I don’t so I do but I go hard, and it hurts so I don’t work out again. Sound familiar? We need to find a good middle ground. One that challenges us, but isn’t so challenging that we get discouraged and want to quit (and of course, if you are coming back from injury speak with your doctor before exercising again).
We have all been in the place where I am right now. Work gets busy, the kids need us, we have visitors, we get sick, we get injured. Our good habits falls by the wayside, and we are left to pick up the pieces. And there are so many pieces. So just focus on the ones that need to be picked up. Once those are up, you will find that the others just fall into place. At least that’s what I’m hoping. Now I need to go find a pair of pants that I can breathe in.
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About the Author: Courtney Abrams is a Health Coach and Founder of Roslyn Wellness. Trained at the Institute for Integrative Nutrition, she helps clients work within the realities of their day to day lives to find ways to make small and manageable changes to their health that can maintained over time. Her clients include people trying to lose weight, beat sugar, increase their energy, cook simple healthful food and reduce stress to name a few. She also shares a passion for food policy and educating people about the foods they are eating and the governmental role behind much of it. You can learn more about Courtney and Roslyn Wellness at http://RoslynWellness.com.