There’s a reason I haven’t written a Working It Out column in a while: I haven’t been working it out. In fact I’ve been doing the opposite of what I should be doing — skipping workouts instead of pushing myself to go to the gym; buying high-fat (not to mention high-priced) lunches when I should be making my own food at home, and struggling to find the motivation to continue on my fitness journey.
I haven’t stepped on a scale in a while, but the last time I did the numbers weren’t pretty. Between September of last year and this month, I’ve regained about 15-20 of the 92 pounds I was so proud to have lost in one year. I feel the difference. My pants are a little more snug, the definition that was just starting to form in my arms has just about dwindled, and there’s no more confusing quadriceps for tumors. I’ve gone far off the deep end and I know I have to quickly get back on the boat if I don’t want this weight loss success to turn into yet another relapse where I regain all, if not more, of the weight I worked so hard to get rid of for, what I thought would be, forever.
A series of unfortunate events led to my regaining. For starters, when I returned from the wedding I attended at the end of September (which was during the time the picture above on the right was taken) I found myself without a personal trainer for the first time in a year. Though I was ready — or so I thought — to not have to answer to someone else about every move I made or every piece of food I ate, I obviously failed to create a personal plan of attack for how I’d pursue my fitness goals on my own and, most importantly, hold myself accountable. A week after my last session, my family from Australia came to visit which meant hanging out with them after work every night and on weekends instead of going to the gym and introducing them to the finer delicacies of the states — like chicken wings. A week after their departure, I headed off to Manila and Beijing for a week where McDonalds and KFC were my daily fixins’, and by the time I returned near the beginning of November, my discipline was as good as broken.
I’ve mentioned before I’m an all or nothing person. When I’m on, I’m exceptional — hence the successful weight loss from October 2014-October 2015 — but when I fall off, I fall off. Hard. So here I am four months later, about 20 pounds heavier, but oddly enough, a little happier. I needed a break from obsessing over food measurements and calorie intake versus output, not to mention belly fat. Instead of weighing myself every morning (because I never broke that bad habit) and eyeing back fat and seeing if enough progress was made from week to week — sometimes day to day — most days I get dressed and think, wow, I look pretty good. This dress hugs me nicely. I like my body.
More than that, when I look back at pictures of myself at the time of my friend’s wedding in September, I finally recognize how good I actually looked then as well. I’d put so much pressure on myself to get into a particular dress for the event, that even when I did I couldn’t stop scrutinizing the rolls and folds I still had and fantasizing about getting to the next weight loss goal instead of appreciating my body in the far slimmer and healthier state it was in at the time. While I’m a little disappointed in my lack of self-control for the past few months, I’m grateful for the setback because it’s served as a reminder to stop being so anxious about the destination that I don’t even enjoy the journey and each milestone along the way. I still want to get to my ultimate goal weight because I know I can, but I also know that being stronger and slimmer then shouldn’t take anything away from being healthier now and looking better than I did a year ago. Sometimes part of working it out is working out your mental demons so you can apply the appropriate attention to your physical self.