The last time I updated my blog, I was in a great place: I’d just received my Good Food Box and I was on a mission to eat ALL of my veggies and eliminate as much of my food waste as possible. But at the same time, other stuff was happening in my life and I find that I am now unemployed and faced with the prospect of moving. The last time I found myself in this situation, I gained 70 lbs and suffered a major bout of depression. Somehow, I fell down that hole again last week.
The reality of being unemployed finally sunk in. I reacted by snacking all day, stuffing my face with pastries in the evening, skipping my workouts because I couldn’t be bothered to leave the house, and generally lazing about on my couch like a sloth. I started wondering if I would wake up one morning and see that awful number – 232 lbs – on the scale once again. That prospect was enough to spur me into action.
I finally hit my Panic button and contacted my Precision Nutrition coach, Denise. I drafted a somewhat schizophrenic e-mail to her, to the effect of, “I’ve lost my job and my routine. I wake up in the morning and I remind myself of my resolve to eat well, but by the end of the day, it seems to have vanished. Instead, it is replaced by ice cream and banana bread and popcorn and peanut butter m&ms. I’m moving backwards! But I also feel like I’m paralyzed and simultaneously spinning out of control. Please help.
P.S. I miss Powerlifting.”
So she set up a Skype appointment with me and asked me how all of this junk food was getting into my house. At first I said I didn’t know, I just felt so out of control. Even when I saw myself buying praline pecans and knew I’d regret it later, I was powerless to stop it. She laughed and then she asked, “What is this, Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs? Junk food just falls from the sky?”
That comment has really stuck with me. When I went grocery shopping this weekend, I found myself tempted to buy stuff I didn’t need and I’d ask, “Is it Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs?” Of course it isn’t. So no matter how powerless I might feel, the reality is that I am fully in control.
And the truth is that I do know what’s happened. I explained it to Denise: I’m at home most of the day now and my kitchen is right there. It’s so easy to snack all day, and the days are really long! By the time 10 pm rolls around, I feel like I’ve screwed up so badly that I might as well enjoy what I’ve really craving – and then I end up at the convenience store, buying ice cream and some Reese’s peanut butter cups. Am I really the only person who is guilty of making questionable decisions after dark?
Denise made me watch this TedTalk, The Power of Vulnerability and told me to work on being kinder to myself. I do know that I’m the type of person who focuses on all of the small, often offhand, negative remarks that people make: I still remember a grade 6 report card where I got almost all A+s. And my dad came home and although he might have commented on how great my grades were, I zero in on his comment: “You only got an A in math?” I was crushed.
Years later, it doesn’t surprise me that I treat my nutrition, fitness and health with much the same attitude: I can do everything right, and then miss my workout and feel like the day is a total waste. Or if I eat a bag of chips today, then tomorrow I’ll think that I’ve already screwed up so hopelessly that I can’t possibly get back on track. And I’ll continue eating pure garbage until I feel like my life is completely unsalvageable. I feel ridiculous trying to explain this logic to anyone. It’s entirely illogical, but I still find myself in this situation at least once a month.
The truth is that while we all start from different places, we’re all at different places right now, and we’re all on separate journeys, the inevitable truth of life is that we are moving forward together, whether we like it or not. The important thing to remember is that we need to work through the tough times as we move forward, because we can! Then when we look back, we can see our own strength, instead of beating ourselves up over every little mistake we made.
For now, I just need to focus on making my Lean Eating my job. Psychologically, it was a huge relief for someone to give me a job, no matter how small. I have a purpose! Denise made me schedule all of my workouts into my calendar for the week and I guess that means yesterday was my first day at my new “job.” It paid me in the form of major abs DOMs today.
During our skype chat, I did ask if I could switch strength workouts. I miss the barbell and I’ve maxed out the stack when it comes to cable deadlifts. Denise told me I could do another workout if I wanted, but these workouts are designed to help me get lean in the end. She told me to give the third phase a try this week and stay focused. The supersetting sucks and it’s not helping my strength, but it is great for my other goals – which is why I signed up to do Lean Eating in the first place.
So in the end, I think Denise just told me a lot of what I already knew, but it left me feeling so much more in control of my life. I just needed to hear it from someone else, because I was having trouble believing in myself. We all need somebody to lean on.