I've lost my grip.
Without completely giving up or giving in, I haven't been as rigid and diligent or restrictive in my eating and drinking as I had been when I first started, and it shows. I've said it before, that I'm slipping and putting weight back on, and I've half-heartedly tried to get back on track. It's not working, and I believe it's because the will and desire isn't the same as it once was. Fitness Fatigue? Or just plain laziness when it comes to the really hard work of making food choices over and over and over?
My eating has slipped because I don't want to give up all the things I have to give up in order to be the size I want. Um, dilemma, much?
Metaphor time: I went climbing Sunday morning with friends. Though I still feel pretty new to it all, it's not like it was my first time at the climbing gym. And I couldn't get up to the top of all of the climbs before coming back down, and I couldn't last quite as long as I had in the past before saying, "nope, I'm done, I've got nothing left in my hands and forearms." I lost my grip strength.
Now, in climbing, it's not supposed to be all about your arms. You use your feet and your legs to lift you up, and you are meant to use your arms more for balance and positioning. But my feet fail me often, and they slip off some of the tiny holds, and it absolutely was my arms and shoulders that compensated. I relied on the part of me that was more naturally strong, and I tired it out faster because of it.
I think the same thing happened with my eating. I made changes, but I either relied on things to overcompensate (Biggest Loser competition, or incentives to track eating, or unhealthy methods) and they were all temporary, short-term solutions. Keeping those changes in the long term is like climbing: if you're not doing it right, using proper form, and using your whole body, you won't make it to the top.
This may require a full re-set. Start from the beginning, make the same little changes I had before. No "sometimes" lattes or frappucinos (which amount to adult milkshakes, even the hot beverages). No "sometimes" fast-food. Less eating out. More veggies. No "sometimes" bread. The things I had eliminated or learned to say no to completely have crept back in to my diet because I thought I could handle moderation and "sometimes" food, and I can't. I really can't.
The big question is, WHY can't I? And maybe I didn't do enough to address that the first time around.
All I know is that I'm working as hard as ever in the gym, and getting stronger. That's where muscles are made and fitness is found. Weight? Fat? Overall health? That's all food, and that's where I'm failing. So, that's where I need to re-focus.
I need to build up grip strength so I can keep climbing.
Literally, and figuratively.
Mat hates the word "diet," and usually so do I. It's why I've stuck with him as a coach for as long as I have. When I start getting a little crazy about food, he knows how to get me to back off the extreme measures and come back down to reality. In yesterday's measurement meeting, I asked if we really had to do them this month. "Mat, we both know it's not good. I feel it, you can see it. Do you really have to measure to see how bad it is?" I asked. To my surprise, he said no - he didn't. Not because he thought it was "bad" or anything was wrong. Just that he doesn't have to rely on measurements. He can plan a program based on my goals, based on what he knows about my body and how it responds, and I didn't have to weigh in if I didn't want to. I told him I thought I needed to get back into diet mode, even if it means calorie counting and going back to eliminating foods completely. He had two suggestions. First, do what I do best: research. "I'm okay with you making some of those changes, but why don't you learn and blog more about certain foods? Their benefits and all that." And second, "focus on the good foods to add in, instead of the 'bad' things to take out." Start with the positive instead of making it so negative.
So, that's my goal. To write as much about food as about exercise and body image, to re-research and to share as I go, and to try and focus on including or re-introducing foods that do something good for my body, instead of eliminating or restricting the foods that don't.
We'll see if I can't build up some mental grip strength as well as the physical, and get to the top of the wall. Because the gym is working, but exercise alone isn't enough to overcome bad eating.