I’ve been struggling recently. I’ve had a few good days here and there, but I’m having to fight for them. I don’t have the … willpower? … strength? … I don’t know what, but I’m not willing to “fight” everyday for the rest of my life to try and stay healthy. Life gets hard enough; health shouldn’t feel like a constant and on-going battle. For most of this past year, it hasn’t felt this hard. So I know it doesn’t have to be a fight. Oh sure, there are hard days, but those should be the exception-not the rule.
Yesterday, I kind of snapped. It’s not just health stuff that’s been challenging recently (though getting sick last weekend and the blister I developed this week have not made health stuff any easier); we’ve also had a rash of broken crap right after buying that very expensive camper. I have no regrets about the camper, but in the last month (since buying it) the exhaust has fallen off my truck, in fixing that we discovered part of my frame is rusted clear through, the water heater at our other house (that we rent out) blew up, my laptop died, my engine started smoking, our dryer quit, my school laptop got fried and then lost in the mail when sent off for repair, my phone quit working, and then yesterday my Garmin watch refused to work.
Through all of this, running has been my stress-reliever and time to think happy thoughts and find the bright side of things. With my watch not working and my ankle bleeding (my blister broke open), I realized, yesterday, that I was stomping through my run while cursing and swearing and bitching and moaning and hating everything about everything. So I decided to take a break.
I took the whole day off. Yesterday was our county one day fair, and it’s hosted by my school. I was signed up to help work some of the carnival games, so I spent the whole day there. I ate anything and everything I wanted. I refused to worry about anything. I just enjoyed the day. By the time I went to bed, I had a horrible stomach ache! I had eaten my normal oats, 1/2 a loaf of chocolate chip banana bread, a hot sausage brat with pepper and onions, a cheesecake brownie, 4 sausage links, 2 fried eggs, 3 plate-sized pancakes with real butter and real maple syrup, a snow cone, and several handfuls of nuts.
As I went about my day (and ate my way through the fair), I thought about the differences between fat me (ie – my behavior yesterday) and skinny me (the way I eat when I’m on-track, but not forcing it). I’m not sure exactly what the differences are, but I do know that I can’t manage my eating without tracking. At no point in time did I feel “full” yesterday. Even with all that I ate, I still would/could have eaten more! I also realized that I’ve been crazy stressed about how busy we’ve been the last few weeks. Every time I go run, I feel like I have to “hurry up and get it over,” so I can get back to my long to-do list. I feel like I’ve been fighting both my and my husband’s schedule to try and force running into the day.
Put it all together, and I’ve decided it’s time for a major overhaul and restructuring. I went for a nice 5.5 mile run this morning (wearing Hubby’s watch) and thought about what I want. Then I came home and set it up. Little Man will now be going home with a baby-sitter on Tues and Wed afternoons. I’ll go for a run and pick him up between 5 & 5:15. This gives me 90 min to get home, change, run, and go get him (so 45-60 min of running time). It’s not a ton of time, and it’s going to cost me money I don’t have (see my list of broken crap above), but it guarantees me 2 mid-week runs without feeling like I’m neglecting other people or things. I think it should really help my stress levels!
I’ve also reset MFP. I set my daily goal to 1400 calories without adjustments for exercise. I set Sunday as a high calorie day (2000 calories), since that’s usually when I do a longer run. One of things I’ve struggled with is the inconsistency of being able to eat more on days I run, but then having to eat less on days I don’t run. I’m hoping it will be easier for me to settle into a nice routine if I’m always maintaining the same amount each day, with one day to eat a bit more.
Of course, with a new plan comes some new goals. I’m going to run at least 4 days every week (Tue, Wed, Sat, Sun) for a total of at least 18 miles/week. I plan to aim for an additional run on Thur or Fri to bring my weekly mileage up above 20 miles, but I’m not going to stress if it doesn’t happen. I’m also going to aim for 1350 calories/day. That’s what I was eating most of last year, and it was comfortable. I have MFP set to 1400 to allow for those occasions when I go “over” by 10 calories or whatever. My point is that every, single, day should be green! (For those who love math as much as me, I’ll point out that I burn about 100 cal/mile. At 18 mile/week, I’ll burn about 1800 extra calories. MFP recommends 1200 cal/day for me, or 8400 cal/week. Add my 1800 exercise calories and you get about 10400/week. At 1400 cal for Mon-Sat & 2000 on Sun, I’ll be eating about 10400/week, so it actually works out to the same thing.) I’m also going back to only getting on the scale on Fridays. Part of this whole goal of a more steady and consistent week means that my weight should be a bit more consistent, too.
As always, I’ll be posting my progress here. We’ll see how things go! Sorry there’s not pictures, but I’m really done fighting with technology, for now. I’ll try making broken stuff work again tomorrow.