Slip sliding away, slip sliding away
You know the nearer your destination
The more you’re slip sliding away
You youngsters may not recognize that refrain from Paul Simon‘s Slip Slidin’ Away, but it seemed appropriate to today’s post. If you asked, “Paul who?”, get off my blog.
No, wait! Come back! I was just joking! See, here’s a smiley face— Just a wee bit of comedy for the evening hours. (But if you don’t know Paul Simon’s music, I will strongly suggest you check it out along with the works of Simon & Garfunkel.)
Okay, moving on…Thank you all for the kind comments yesterday on my trainaversary! I had an awesome celebratory workout, followed by a celebratory frozen yogurt (peanut butter w/crushed Reese’s peanut butter cups, if you’re keeping score.) But not to worry–I had the small one and she was chintzy with the topping. (I hate when that happens. )
In her comment yesterday, lovely Gina asked a question:
Was there ever a time along your journey where you backslid? If so, how did you pick yourself up? (Any old posts on that?)
Gina was kind enough not to object to my request to delay an answer until today. (Thanks, Gina!)
When I think about backsliding, I think of it in terms of a pattern of not doing the right things for ourselves. That one little cookie becomes two, which leads to four cookies the next day, and potato chips the next, and before you know it, you’re right back into old, unhealthy habits.
Or was that just me? Because that, in a nutshell, is what happened to me in every previous attempt to lose weight. No matter which plan I was following, I’d reach a point where I’d start to feel deprived and I began to allow little “cheats”. When the little “cheats” hadn’t shown up on the scale by the next day (because of course I weighed every day!) , I’d have another litle cheat. And another one, and eventually I’d reach a state of “may as well start fresh next week.” But then, next week would prove to be elusive. And so on and so forth.
I’m extremely pleased (and still more than a little surprised, to be honest) that in following the tippy toe approach to a lifestyle change, I experienced NONE of that backsliding business. For the entire first year, I had one oops! moment: it was a single order of cinnamon twists from Taco Bell. (But Lord, you would have thought I’d eaten 12 dozen cookies from the way I carried on about it.) There were other slips after that, times when I ate more of something than I intended or skipped nutrition in favor of something decadent, but those incidents were sporadic and not too much of a worry (she says now, brazenly forgetting the angst at the time.)
When I look back on this effort vs. my previous attempts to lose weight, I can’t attribute the difference to one thing. I think it was a bunch of little things (those darn tippy toe steps!) that contributed to the consistent forward momentum:
- I kept it simple in the beginning, refusing to fall into the old trap of trying to change my entire way of living overnight. My initial goals were 5-7 fruits and veggies per day and 30 minutes of exercise. I added on from there. But I still keep it simple: eat mostly whole, healthy foods and move a lot.
- I declared no food off-limits totally. In fact, I built in opportunities for some of my favorite decadent foods with monthly splurge meals and weekly splurge items. I looked at it as how I intended to live my life for the long-term, not some multi-month plan that ended at a goal weight.
- I took the focus off of weight completely. I didn’t even know what I weighed for the first few months. Instead, this time the focus was on actions. As I saw it, my success was determined by what I did, not what I weighed. No trying to “work the weigh in” on this effort!
- I adopted strength training. Not only did this help me change my focus to food as fuel, but it had the added benefit of allowing requiring me to have more than the typical 1200-calorie-per-day allotment prescribed by many “diets.” You can pack a lot of food into 1800 calories a day, if it’s healthy food.
- I kept changing things up, assigning myself new challenges; logging food when it felt necessary and right and then stopping when it didn’t; exploring new foods and activities, keeping what worked, dropping what didn’t. Any time I started feeling bored or “itchy”, I tossed something new into the mix.
- Last, but certainly not least, I started blogging. With a grandstand like this one, it’s awfully hard to not do my best.:)
If I’m being completely honest here, I have to admit that I feel guilty sometimes that this all seemed to have been pretty drama-free and joyful. My rational self knows that a lot of thought and effort went into it, and I did have to navigate a few rough patches with job loss and family health issues. But when I read the continual struggles that others face, I can’t help but feel as though I didn’t suffer enough, somehow. I feel guilty for being so danged happy (99% of the time)! Crazy-lucky girl thinking, there!
Anyway, that’s my long, drawn-out accounting of how I believe I was able to avoid that backsliding bug. Thanks for your question, Gina. I’m sorry I don’t have any posts on backsliding, and I hope you’ll understand if I say that I hope I don’t have to write any. Maybe if we ask nicely, other folks will chime in with their experiences with backsliding. (Cue: puppy eyes)
Okay, I’m off to soak. My legs, not my head. I may have over-lunged yesterday. Hope you’re all having a great week!