Every now and then I like to write about where I’m at with diet and exercise, so if that isn’t your thing, you should probably skip this post and watch Hanna Hart’s awesome “My Drunk Kitchen” YouTube videos instead.

So! Diet and exercise. Last fall when I first started working from home, I pretty much instantly piled on a bunch of weight like it was part of my new daily routine. Write article, start laundry, gain fifteen pounds. It wasn’t that I was spending the entire day shoveling the contents of the fridge into my Snackimals-hole, exactly, it was more that I fell back into a habit of eating some really crap food late at night. Adjusting to being home all day, using food as a reward for that tiny slice of evening that was kid-free, blah blah blah excuse-cakes.

(Mmmmm … cake.)

My strength and endurance improved when I started doing CrossFit, but I think my eating actually got harder to control. I had a lot of days when I was so incredibly epically ridiculously sore from a CrossFit workout that I found it nearly impossible to avoid snacking on carby foods. I really doubt that’s a common problem among serious CrossFitters, but for me I’ve learned what triggers my MUST EAT ALLLLL THE SUGARS cravings, and one of those things is feeling fatigue and pain. Like, when you can barely walk up a flight of stairs without sobbing, sometimes you just want a donut with self-pity frosting, you know?

Anyway, I’ve been much happier since I switched to doing my own workouts. Not only am I relieved to no longer be forcing myself to do something I wasn’t enjoying, but it’s been easier to make healthier food choices. I tend to spend my weekdays eating mostly lean proteins and vegetables, with weekends set aside for scheduled overindulging. I could definitely be leaner if I didn’t inhale everything in sight like a starving teenager a couple days a week, but … well, life’s short, right? I have many ice cream related needs.

As for exercise, I’m just cycling through a bunch of different things. I might do a workout DVD, or go for a run, or shove the lawnmower around our hilly-ass front lawn, or blow the cobwebs off my sadly neglected bike. I keep thinking I might want to take another class of some kind soon (which led me to trying Bikram yoga the other day, which I would describe as Horribly, Masochistically Vomitous with a side of Never Fucking Again Oh My Christ), but overall I feel like I’ve reclaimed that good feeling of enjoying physical activity, instead of dreading it.

Back when I felt like I was really sliding off the rails with my fitness, I took some highly unflattering photos. Just to document what I hoped was a Before state of being, I guess. I took some follow-up photos a couple weeks ago, and I’m pleased to see the improvement.

b1

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I suppose I’m sharing this because I find it useful to talk about backsliding. It happens to everyone, and it’s shocking how fast you can go from feeling like you’ve got everything under control to … well, not having anything under control. I wish like hell it wasn’t so hard to stay on track, but that’s how it is for me: I have to pick myself back up on a regular basis. The only damn thing that works for me is continually figuring out what works, because it’s always changing.

Some people find their exercise or diet passion and are able to stick to it for years, and some people keep falling into ruts and need to periodically kick themselves back out with something new. It can get discouraging, being in that second category. Like you’re in a pointless uphill battle, like you’re incapable of real longterm change. But I also think that at the end of the day the two categories aren’t that different. Neither one is easy. Both simply require that you don’t give up.

Comments

87 Responses to “The state of things, fitness-wise”

  1. Lisa M. on June 10th, 2011 8:17 am

    Thanks so much for sharing this. I was in a backslide, and only just dragged myself out of it (like, yesterday was day 2 (in a row!) of exercising post-backslide). It makes me feel better that you backslide too; you always look so incredible. Thanks for sharing.

  2. Farrell on June 10th, 2011 8:30 am

    I’ve lost 20 pounds since December and that took tracking, conscious choice and a strict exercise routine to do so. When I first started my weight-loss initiative, I restricted myself to 1,200 calories a day and could absolutely not freakin’ believe how hard that is to do (an apple has 95 calories! A freakin’ apple! “Good” calories, but still.) It made me wonder how anyone got or stayed thin.

    Anyway, I wanted to say that you are EXTREMELY brave for posting those photos and my tummy has and is and probably always will be my trouble spot too and I never in a million years would think my tummy could ever look like your “after” picture but hey, maybe I’m wrong.

    So, more details please. Exactly WHAT is your routine, how long do you do it for, do you do cardio and weights one day, then abs and butt the next or what. And also, how much time passed between the “before” and “after”?

    Also, it helps to know that you are “normal” and that you have to work on it too, just like most people. I take exercise advice much better from “normal” people than people who just happen to be blessed with wonderful genes and can naturally stay fit and thin with minimal effort (like [many of] the celebrities are always claiming in magazines).

  3. adequatemom on June 10th, 2011 9:30 am

    Thanks for this post. I am really struggling right now and I needed to hear that “we all backslide”. You are awesome!

  4. Eric's Mommy on June 10th, 2011 10:43 am

    I have just recently started going to the gym. My son is on a swim team and practices at the YMCA 3 days a week. Parents aren’t allowed to watch their kids swim (some parents like to “coach” their kids and even bring stopwatches) so I use this time to work out now. I was never a gym person but I actually enjoy it, especially since I would be there for an hour anyways why not use the time to work out?

  5. Em on June 10th, 2011 12:26 pm

    FYI, your befores would be my dream afters and your afters would be impossible to me. You look great!

  6. Ris on June 10th, 2011 1:29 pm

    Wow you look amazing, in both the before and after shots!

  7. Erin@MommyontheSpot on June 10th, 2011 5:29 pm

    First of all, you look A-MAZING!

    Second, this totally describes me. I kind of fell off the wagon during the 6 weeks of mayhem called birthday season. So instead of being a bit pissy that I may have gain 5 pounds, I am trying to pick up where I left off, and be thankful it wasn’t 10 pounds.

    Thanks for an awesome post! I needed to hear this today.

  8. Christine on June 10th, 2011 6:11 pm

    Just so ya know, your fitness travails have been the inspiration for some exercise related madness of my own.

    Last year I decided that if that Seattlite blogger I follow could balance work, 2 kids, and triathlon/marathon training so could I. Last year I competed in my first triathlon and the madness that is 3 sport training, while balancing two jobs, one as an SLP in the public school and one as McMenamins bartender and parenting a teenager. (ugh) I enjoyed the masochism of the endeavor so much I am signed up again for several races this summer. I finished my first race last week and took first in my age group (35-old). Contemplating a 1/2 marathon and the Hood to Coast, too.
    So what I’m saying is thank you for being ballsy and inspiring me to be ballsy too.

    I know you’ll find a new challenge that will have your blogees kicking their own ass soon enough.

  9. Lori O on June 10th, 2011 7:11 pm

    I have learned in the last few months, hopefully permanently ingrained in my soul, that I am motivated to work and and eat well when my focus is not on losing weight/looking good. Hear me out :-)

    Ironically, I discovered this through CrossFit, which I know you tried and ended up not enjoying. My husband is a CrossFit trainer and just opened his own box, and we are having the time of our lives. I wish you could’ve tried our gym! Everyone is having so much fun, from all fitness levels!

    I am discovering a whole new realm of health and fitness that I never new mentally and physically possible. I used to work out to get things done to make me look better. It was so frustrating. Now I’m focused on getting stronger, faster, fitter. I’ve had more changes in my body in the last couple months than ever before, and having way more fun doing it. It’s nice to be focusing on something else other than my body shape. My focus is health, and it’s been the best motivator ever.

    I really hope I can stick with this focus. i always appreciate your posts and hearing your thoughts, b/c they are so much like my battle. I truly hope now my battle has been won and I can keep this peace of mind and motivation for the rest of my life.

    Then again, it could just be the honeymoon stage with CrossFit…

    P.S. Your before/after photos look awesome! Good work coming back.

  10. Liz on June 10th, 2011 9:07 pm

    yep. constantly having to get back on the damn wagon. every winter, the pounds just climb back on, and every summer, i have to work them off. a couple times, i’ve gotten a vicious intestinal virus, which certainly hurries that weight loss along, but in a decidedly unhealthy way.

    hee. yeah, bikram yoga is not my thing either. try vinyasa or ashtanga. you will sweat and fell deliciously tired and sore afterwards, every single class. but it’s not killer like bikram.

  11. Frannie on June 11th, 2011 1:48 am

    There you go, you said it. That last sentence is the kicker. If you indulge, forgive yourself, and pick up the next meal or day. But the thing is to do it. Don’t forget. Don’t give up.

    I’m four months postpartum and have lost 57 lbs. I just calculated that, but I’m not trying to obsess with numbers, analytics of weightloss. I had two boys back to back. My belly is slowly shrinking. I’m going to Vegas next month and will probably ask my husband to take side belly shots. HA.
    The last week or so I’ve been too exhausted to work out. Thanks for sharing. I feel motivated!

  12. Jessica on June 11th, 2011 8:08 am

    Thank you for this post. I’m the SAME WAY. I’ve recently gone on a yoga bender (hopefully it will stick in the long-run), and I’m starting to see positive change in my body, but I only did this after totally letting myself go the past few months (and avoiding the scale so as to stay in my cocoon of denial). I’m on an upswing now, and hoping to ride this wave for a long time.

  13. Kerri on June 11th, 2011 11:16 am

    I would love to hear more about your Bikram yoga experience. I tried another kind of hot yoga (hot plus vinyasana) last week and absolutely hated it. I felt like I was going to die or have a heat stroke. I was surrounded by people who clearly enjoyed this torture and was completely humiliated by my need to sit-out many of the movements because putting my head upside down made me feel like I was getting a migraine and raising my hands over my head made me feel like I was going to pass out. I will never, ever do that again. Your description made me laugh. Was your experience as bad as mine?

  14. Stacy on June 12th, 2011 1:06 pm

    Perfectly timed, and just what I needed to hear to get in gear. I fell off the wagon at the end of last year and have had trouble getting motivated to get back on, but as many others have said not only here but in past posts you’ve written about fitness, you’re an inspiration.

  15. Jennifer in Germany on June 13th, 2011 6:36 am

    Once again, thank you for a brilliant post which led to
    Karen’s link to the article on “Depletable Self-Control” which is enlightening. You were on to something when you recognized the cross-fit/carb binge relationship and science is backing you up. It’s a total eye opener to me because I can totally relate and see myself often excerting tremendous self-control only to the completely lose it, whether it be with finances, exercise and health or with my children. Now I can try to be more forgiving of myself while at the same time more mindful of my limits to avoid the binging/out-of-control behavior.

  16. Jennifer in Germany on June 13th, 2011 6:39 am

    whoops, I mean “exerting”–for some reason I always like “c” next to an “x”.

  17. Sara on June 13th, 2011 6:59 am

    As always, your honesty is much appreciated! Do you have a plan for how you’ll maintain the results you’re achieving now? I’m interested to hear about what you’ll do differently this time around for maintenance, if anything. :)

  18. Heather on June 13th, 2011 7:36 am

    You are amazing and inspirational. I’ve written you several times with weight loss questions and I can say that you are singlehandedly (is that a word) responsible for 35 pounds of my weightloss. YOU, all YOU!!! (and turbo jam!).

    And where might one find the Tracy Anderson Mat Work Out, Is Amazon the only place to purchase it?

  19. Heather on June 13th, 2011 7:53 am

    Linda, you probably know of this site, but I find tons of great reviews here, and I’m able to watch clips of videos – http://www.collagevideo.com/moreinstructors.aspx

  20. MyFrogs on June 13th, 2011 7:53 am

    Damn woman, you’re brave! I need to take some before shots! I seem to have gained 5 lbs in a matter of days. So I was already headed back to the gym, and then I weighed myself this morning. Trying to get some momentum back for cardio intervals. Had started those a few months back and had started seeing results that I liked. And then life got in the way and here I am feeling like crap about myself. Seeing your results is giving me some push to get my ass back on the damn eliptical! Thanks!

    PS- You’re such a badass!

  21. Sirena on June 13th, 2011 8:17 am

    Girl you are looking fabulous!
    By the time I started reading your blog you were already quite the fitness guru but it’s super inspiring to know that anyone can backslide a little, get bummed about the results, but kind of get it together and whip yourself back into shape again. Thanks for the inspiration!

  22. Kath on June 13th, 2011 9:51 am

    I keep kicking at the darkness till I see daylight … (line courtesy of Bruce Cockburn).

    Sometimes it’s dark for a long time ….

    sigh

  23. Christina on June 13th, 2011 10:13 am

    One of the core things I remember from my Health & Fitness days was that it take months/years to get and stay fit and 10 days to “lose” your fitness. TEN DAYS. That may be different now but that is what the books said back than. Two weeks everything will be back to the way it was before you got fit. That is why things like WW and NutriSystem do so well. They trust that people will get all slim and fit and than STOP. Also, 10 days and the # of fat cells remain the same in your body no matter how “fit” you become plus if you constantly yo-yo with your weight and fat intake your fat cell expand and decrease but lose elasticity over time so you have a harder time losing weight over time. If you are more constant with your weight and fitness, you won’t have as much trouble as you get older. It is a viscious cycle that not many people seem to be unaware and wonder WHY they gain weight as they age even if they do more and more fitness.

  24. Linda on June 13th, 2011 10:18 am

    Kerri: that sounds EXACTLY like my experience. I guess it wasn’t actually Bikram, it was Power Vinyasa, but whatever, it was too damn hot.

    Heather: I’m sure that’s not the only place, she has her own website so maybe you can order direct?

    Christina: I agree with the part about consistency being a good thing, buuuuuut no on the 10 days thing. That’s just depressing, and definitely not true.

  25. Sonia on June 13th, 2011 6:59 pm

    You look GREAT! Thank you for being so honest about backslides and lulls in your routine. It makes me feel like less of a …… backslidey asshat. Or something.

    I just started doing Pilates with a private instructor, and I LOVE IT. She practices with reformer equipment. So here’s the reason I love it. I need a gimmick, or a gadget to stay interested. I absolutely loath going to a gym, even if I’m meeting a friend. With Pilates, I’m so focused on my form and performing the positions correctly, that I don’t even notice the time passing. Treadmill = me counting down the seconds until I’m done. Pilates = “Wha? We’re done? It’s been an HOUR??!” I’ve had 5 private sessions, and I shit you not, I can SEE that my muscle tone has improved. The only downside is the expense. I’m now looking into buying a reformer and DVD’s for my home, and then I’ll do an occasional session with my instructor.

  26. Jude on June 14th, 2011 12:51 am

    Once again, you’re an inspiration. Thank you so much for this – it really does help to know that other people swing back and forth, and to reinforce the message that you need to keep on keeping on. x

  27. Sarahviz on June 14th, 2011 9:43 am

    Thank you for posting this. I personally like the fact that you check in with us on this and hold yourself accountable. I am in a rut right now (a knee injury sidelined me from a half marathon last weekend.), and just picked up the phone to get back on track with my personal trainer.

  28. Jen on June 15th, 2011 10:13 am

    “I have many ice cream related needs.” This is my new life motto.

    You rock, thank you. Glad I’m not alone in battling the backslide (of my growing backside. BWAAAAH!)

  29. RealMommyChron on June 15th, 2011 7:12 pm

    THANK YOU. It is amazing how exactly what you need can often plop down (pun intended) right in front of your face. Please understand that the ‘plop’ would more be referring to me and not you, since you look like Jackie from the Bravo exercise reality TV show.

    In any event, I bought cross trainer shoes the other day, thinking I might try to pick up jogging where I left off, oh, about 4.5 years ago. (amazingly, coinciding PERFECTLY with my first pregnancy! Fancy that.) We are visiting The Grandparents in Cape Cod next week and I figured I would start there.

    Then I read a friends blog and she was discussing ‘recharging batteries in a healthy way.’ Re: NOT using the daily coffee and nightly alcohol I have been attempting lately.

    THEN, I linked over to your site and what do you have? Photos of a belly.
    And then!?!
    Photos of a six pack.
    Wow.

    Inspiring. And clearly a sign that I was correct in thinking it is time to make a healthier change. (Either that or my husband cleverly forced my internet ‘link path’…but he’s really not that tech-savvy…or mean.)

    Anyway, the moral of my novel is Thank You for putting yourself out there. You never know when it is going to be the EXACT thing someone needs at that moment.

    And now I am off to take photos of my unflattering current state so that I can compare them to the (hopefully) more fit photos of me three weeks from now.

  30. Jan @ Body Wrench on June 20th, 2011 10:58 pm

    Congratulations for reaching your goal. How many months did you work for it?

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