Saturday, August 9, 2008

Fool Me Once...

What happens when one falls off the fitness/health wagon? Well, it usually involves a slippage in exercise and a slide into a vat of chocolate...or french fries, or both. Chocolate french fries?

During this time of slipping and sliding I usually continue to weigh myself. Having gone down this path myself a few times I've noticed something very evil happens. I don't gain weight, at least not for a few weeks. I think there are several reasons for this.

#1: For the first couple of weeks of said fall I might actually still be exercising now and again. I read somewhere that it only takes half the work to maintain fitness gains as it took to obtain them in the first place. So, if you're only doing 1/4th of what you used to do you're still maintaining something.

#2: Most of my meals are probably still relatively healthy. These first two reflect that I don't fall off the wagon in one heavy thud, right? I slowly lose my grip, slowly slide down to the edge, and my good habits slowly fall by the wayside.

#3: The metabolism remains high for a while. It's not like I lose all that good, hard-earned muscle overnight. I continue to burn through the calories at a higher rate even though my exercise might not be regular anymore.

#4: The reverse of the old muscle weighs more than fat line. As you lose muscle and gain fat your weight stays the same. Evil. Your clothes might be getting snug but the final arbiter, The Scale, tells you all is well. And since we've conditioned ourselves that The Scale Knows All, we fool ourselves into listening to it again. Like I've said many times before, the scale only tells part of the story.
What does this all mean? It means we get taken for a ride. I tell myself, "Wow, I've finally figured this out. I can eat like a regular person, exercise just a little and maintain my weight." I really fall for the lie, and hard. So hard that I carry on with my merry ways, happily eating french fries and pizza, sitting on my ass watching Jeopardy after work, all the while thinking I've finally mastered weight maintenance. And then...

The weight gain starts. And when it does it's usually too late. I've fallen off the wagon entirely and it's gone on down the road without me. I can't even see it anymore. And the weight gain is gradual, it's a 1/2 pound here, a pound there. I start adjusting my acceptable weight standards. This really helps with the denial, "160 is still pretty good,"... "165 isn't bad,"... "170? I guess I can live with that." Right around here is where I might stop weighing myself altogether. Bigger denial. This isn't happening, I am not gaining weight.

Does any of this sound familiar? I realized the other day how well I know this path. I realized I could write it out in steps I know it so well. And it's that trick at the beginning that really helps to let us live the denial, believe the lie we've always wanted to be true.

I am writing about this because I am facing some challenges in maintaining my healthy eating and exercising routine, but I don't think I am falling off the wagon. It's possible this is the biggest case of denial ever. So big that I'm actually blogging about it but saying it doesn't apply to me. But I don't think so. I think the difference is that I am writing about it, thinking about it, weighing myself, watching. I am not telling myself, "By George I think I've got it! I can eat pizza, sit on my couch and not gain weight!". I am facing some unique challenges right now. More to come, I promise.

I'd love to hear your thoughts on this wagon falling business.

Moving on...What's on tap for this weekend? Oh wait! Before I forget. I signed up for a sprint tri. It's the same one I did back in late June, Tri for Fun. They do it three times a summer and this is the final one. It's next weekend, August 16th. I am really excited. I decided I needed something to boost morale around here. And what better way to do it than cross a finish line?

So, this weekend...Well, Miguel's out playing golf. Actually, he just called to ask if I want to join him post-golf at IHOP for breakfast. I passed :) So, when he gets home we're heading to the pool for some swimming. I really enjoy swimming. Swimming is the sport most people give as the reason they won't do a tri. I just don't get that, so I guess I'm lucky. I find swimming so easy and relaxing. I think it's the fact that my weight is supported.

After the pool we're going to watch the Carrera de San Rafael, a big bike race in downtown San Rafael. I'm excited to see the roadies flying by! And there's supposed to be a big expo nearby. Right up my bike path! Tomorrow (Sunday) I'm going into SF for One Hawaii, a Hawaiian music concert in the park. The weather should be great and I can't wait to sample some of my favorite Hawaiian foods that I am sure will be for sale. Aloha everyone!

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

Many Rivers to Cross

Wow, has it really been a week since my last post? Bad blogger! I want to thank people who reached out to me to ask where the heck I was. The internet can be a vast space of emptiness but when you make connections with people it can be so much more. Thank you for caring about little ol' me :)

As far as my absence...There is an explanation but I can't really go into details yet. I can say there's been something going on in my life that has really derailed things of late. I'm hoping the dust will settle in the next several weeks and then I can tell you more. I've been trying to get in workouts here and there when I can but they've generally been sparse. Sometimes life is about treading water.

Speaking of water, I have some fun news! Back in April I told you about a rafting trip Miguel and I had planned. Well it was this past weekend! We got up at the crack of dawn on Saturday and drove to Camp Haswell in Yolo County, about 2 hours northeast, to join up with Whitewater Adventures. We put all our gear in a bus and were shuttled to the rafting spot. People were already drinking and getting kind of loud and it was only 10am. I worried I'd be miserable all weekend with rowdy drunk people.

We got to our rafting spot and had a little safety lesson, "Most of you won't fall out of your boats today but if you do...". We got our boat, which was sort of like a kayak raft, shaped like a kayak but filled with air like a raft, very comfortable, and off we went in the water. In these situations I still find myself thinking, "I never would have done this before." I know I say this a lot but being so overweight really got in the way of my living life. Sometimes I feel sad at all I've missed out on, all the time I wasted on the couch. Then I turn it around and just be grateful I'm moving now.

So off we went on the river. About 50% of the time the water was calm and just carried us along while we chatted and enjoyed the scenery. The other half the time we contended with rushing white waters, but never anything too hard core. Here's what the 2-man boats looked like.

And Miguel and I enjoying a calm part of the river.

And a not so calm part...

Can you believe that picture? We were having so much fun!! Whitewater Adventures were great, they take care of everything, including packing a lunch and putting it on your raft. You can pack drinks and whatever else you want to bring on your raft too. But whatever you do bring, it will get wet! These pics are sorta crappy because they were all taken with a disposable waterproof camera, and good thing! I got dumped off the boat in the rapids more than once. So much for us not falling out of our boats! It was all a blast though and only a little bit scary for a few seconds there.

When we arrived at our camping spot all our gear was there, we just had to pitch our tent and wait for dinner. Dinner was too much, lots of snacky appetizers (spinach dip and bread, cheese and crackers, guacamole, m&m's, and on and on) followed by grilled steaks, monstrous baked potatoes, corn on the cob...and lots of butter and sour cream. For desert there were Oreo cookies and milk. OMG, I don't even want to think about how many calories I must have consumed. I just hoped I burned enough calories rafting to burn off some of it! After dinner there was a disco dance party, in the middle of nowhere! This is a serious operation. But I was pooped after all the sun and rafting so I hit the hay and tried to sleep.

This is the camping area. Isn't it pretty?

Up and at 'em at 6:15am for a second day of rafting. Breakfast first, lots of danishes and fruit plus scrambled eggs and homestyle potatoes. Ugh, more calories. Back on the rafts for another full day on the river.

Here we are cruising along...

And here I am stopped for lunch. Can you believe that's me? It's going to take a while to get my mental image lined up with my actual image.

We rafted back to our starting point and there was all our camping gear waiting for us. If you can't tell already I highly recommend Whitewater Adventures. We had a blast and didn't have to think about a thing! Oh, except not drowning :)

I fell asleep about 20 minutes into the ride home, I was exhausted! I was hoping to get in some exercise on Monday but it didn't happen. Both Miguel and I were still feeling tired from the weekend. Today, Tuesday, I was feeling tired too. I got home around 4:30pm and started this blog. I realized I should try to get some exercise in before therapy and then had the great idea to walk there! It's about 3 miles away and if I hurried I'd make it on time. It took me 40 minutes to get there. Not bad. I took a slightly more leisurely pace coming home. Miguel is at a Giants game with some friends and I was planning to order Chinese takeout for dinner but after my walk decided to eat something healthier. I made some rice and chicken breast with one of my favorite Cost Plus sauces, Shere Kahn Korma. It's rich and creamy and yet fairly low in calories! And a quick meal to boot. Do I sound like a commercial?

So I was planning to include some ideas I've had recently about falling off the wagon but this post is plenty long. Next time. But just so you know, I've not fallen off of it...I'm hanging on for dear life! It's a wild ride but I know it's worth it...I'm worth it.