The Numbers Game
This is the next progress report in my 6-Weeks-Until-I-Am-On-A-Tropical-Vacation-So-Let’s-See-What-Physical-Improvements-I-Can-Make Challenge (should I trademark that winning title?). For a recap, read Honesty, Hypocrisy & Me and Progress Report.
So the progress is pretty much 110% good. When I started, I made a commitment, both to myself and to the blogosphere, to complete some simple, daily activities, all designed to eradicate the four worst food items in my life. To date, those foods have been banished, but, like so many recovery-like activities, my progress has far surpassed the initial goals. Over the course of the past 5 weeks, I have not only abstained from those foods which I compulsively eat, but I have also managed to acquire a daily eating routine that is about a million times healthier than my diet 7 weeks ago. So by any standard I have far exceeded my goal, in terms of eating.
One of the simple daily tasks has been to re-incorporate a small amount of physical activity, which again has been a great success, and again has far exceeded my initial expectations. I have been able to increase, either by time or intensity, each week since I began.
Mentally it has been a bit of a roller coaster. Weeks one and two were a breeze, and I was given an almost daily reassurance from my scale… getting on the scale was in fact fun! Of course, every party has its end, and week three was a complete meltdown. I had eaten better and exercised harder than the first two weeks, yet still managed to gain a pound. Despite all logic and common sense, which would tell a sane person, “then just stop getting on the scale,” I actually upped my visits to my bathroom, sometimes weighing myself as much as 3 times in a day. You would think I’ve never been on a diet before! The absolute miracle of it all is that I persevered… in my entire life, I have never had that kind of negative feedback and continued on a diet. It worked itself out by the end of week four, but I’m still trying to understand and correct my mental process on the scale obsession. I have managed to eliminate the behavior of actually stepping on the scale, but the idea of what the numbers may be is never very far from my thoughts, and I am trying to figure that one out.
And then there’s other numbers… I find myself mentally calculating and re-calculating my daily caloric intake, and comparing it to the day before. The idea is almost laughable… I am the least qualified to judge some of the things I am assigning numbers to, and yet I can’t seem to stop myself.
And then, the biggest numbers game of all… the treadmill. I am obsessively checking the miles I am completing, mentally calculating how much it will be at the end, comparing it to the times in the past, and striving to beat each time. Now, for sure, some of this is to the good: I am getting faster almost every time I am on the treadmill. But I know, I know, that this kind of obsessing is fundamentally wrong, but I can’t seem to overcome it. Sure, I could cover up the panel, but I’m pretty sure I would have to spray paint it black or figure out a way to run backwards for me to avoid peeking.
So, the good news: I am down 15 pounds, have lost 4 inches from my waist (the only part I measured, I am an apple shape and my mid-section is the area I most desire to decrease), and my treadmill workout is back to when I was at my peak last summer. My diet is the healthiest, by a significant amount, in a solid 5 years, maybe even longer. Water consumption up, Diet Pepsi consumption down. My clothes feel looser, and I feel a great sense of accomplishment. All super exciting stuff.
The not-so-good news: I am a work-in-progress in the mental game of dieting. The idea of moderation and balance, in terms of time spent thinking about diet and exercise, is completely foreign. I need a better perspective in how I am spending my mental energy as it relates to this issue. And, truthfully, I’m not really sure how to achieve this particular goal. As, shockingly enough, moderation in anything has not been my strong suit.
Is this problem sounding familiar to anyone? Am I alone in the numbers obsession? Any words of advice on how to get a grip?
Perseverance in this challenge is a miracle. Seriously, a miracle.