Tuesday, November 24, 2015

Hard Reset

"Le premier pas, mon fils, que l'on fait dans le monde,Est celui dont dépend le reste de nos jours." 
--Voltaire, L'Indiscret


As we hit the holiday season (and I consider Thanksgiving to be the start to the actual holiday season, not Halloween) I am thinking more and more about my eating habits. I'm up several pounds since the marathon I ran back in October, and I have been stress eating like crazy as we approach the arrival of this little girl. Also, things at work have become increasingly stressful, and I've had a harder time getting in more than 15 miles a week this month. Less mileage almost always means more unresolved stress for me, so I'm going to need to start putting in a more consistent effort as we approach December.

So last week after a particularly stressful set of days, I gave myself a mental health day. Those aren't always work days, I should point out, a good many of our mental health days are weekend days. But still, a day set aside with an intentionally blank agenda can be freeing. On this particular one I even let go of logging my food. For the first time in 1,220 days I didn't log a single thing into my MFP diary. I didn't even really think about it until the next morning when my counter reset to 0 days.

For those of you who don't know, I lost a lot of weight a few years ago as I began running. Really, I started the weight loss with MyFitnessPal and logging my food. My wife and I began logging the activity we were doing, and I started a run/walk program on my own. I didn't expect to become a marathon runner. I just wanted to get back in shape and hopefully find the confidence to free myself from a really soul-crushing boss.

Logging everyday really helped me think about what I'm eating, how I portion things, and also about how important my activity level can be in maintaining the shape I'm in. It was a really great 3.34 years of consistent logging, but I'll admit, towards the end of that streak I've been less diligent about it. I was still logging, but I wasn't really being truthful with myself and with portion sizes.

I think sometimes it is good to have a hard reset. This worked for me once, but that was three years ago, and I am a decidedly different person now. I'm intending to continue logging, to start my streak over again. I just want to see if I can get back the drive and dedication I had to it for that first year when I made a really crazy amount of progress. I've done similar things to keep my running fresh -- I still run, but I try different plans, and I don't always glue myself to them permanently.

So we'll see what happens. I would like to lose about 15 pounds and get back down to the weight I was when I ran my first marathon. I'm not sure if that's really realistic, but I would accept losing 10 pounds. I know I can get there in time for Big Sur in April. I also need to get back to eating my mostly vegetarian diet. I've been slipping on that more and more, and I've had meat more times in the last month than I probably have had all year. I notice it in my running -- I feel like I sweat differently, I'm more prone to heart burn. I need to get back to more veggies.

For thanksgiving I usually do a field roast celebration roast -- they taste really good, but they usually give me really bad heartburn. So I'm staying away from that this season. I'm planning to do a savory baked tofu with beans and some roast veggies. I'm still planning to do a bread stuffing and maybe mashed sweet potatoes. I'm also planning on making cranberry-orange bread (a favorite of my father-in-law's) and sharing that out with my coworkers this week. I am planning on giving up alcohol (save for maybe a drink at Christmas, a flute of champagne at New Year's) until after Big Sur.

Do I have any regular readers yet? If I do, I hope you enjoy the Thanksgiving holiday with your friends and loved ones. For those of you not in the US, I hope that you and your families are doing well. The world becomes increasingly turbulent around us, and sometimes all we can do is put one foot in front of the other, bear down into the hill, and think about the people that really matter to us.

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