Well, this week was my first week of off season training. I was incredibly, excrutiatingly sore for most of this week. I had some awesome workouts, and I had some mediocre ones. It feels good though! I am 115 lbs and 16% bodyfat (from 109 lbs and ~13% bodyfat 3 weeks ago at the show). My goal off season maintenance weight was 112-115 lbs, so I’ve gotten back to where I aimed to be.
People generally thought I was crazy for choosing to start training/dieting again the week of Thanksgiving. Most of them asked why I didn’t just wait until after Thanksgiving was over so that I didn’t have to worry about dieting during the holiday. I saw the situation differently:
- I had already been binging and indulging for two weeks – and I felt like the crap! Why perpetuate it for another week just for the sake of it being more socially acceptable because of the holiday?
- Every day I put off getting back on track was one more day I’d have to work extra hard to get back to where I wanted to be.
- Thanksgiving is about gratitude and being thankful for what you have. Loading up my body with excess calories, sugar, saturated fat, additives, processed foods, alcohol, and trans fats does not appeal to me as being an appropriate way to give thanks for life and health.
But more fundamentally, I saw it as a chance to practice discipline. I don’t believe in will power. What I do believe in is developing discipline over time through being faced with temptation and obstacles and overcoming them making the best possible choice. When you are tested and you triumph, it makes you that much stronger and more confident in your ability to perservere the next time you are challenged. I felt awesome all week when I was eating asparagus and chicken while passing on the pumpkin pie and casseroles. Yes, they looked delicious and part of me would have loved to eat them – but more of me wanted to give my trainer an update at the end of the week that I could be proud of. Knowing you can stick to eating clean and working out, even during the most gluttonous holiday of the year, is empowering. It was also nice to end the day on Thanksgiving without feeling stuffed and exhausted.
That being said, I followed my meal plan 100% on Thanksgiving. I ate white meat turkey, a small baked sweet potato, and asparagus while the rest of my family ate the more traditional Thanksgiving fare: crescent rolls (my favorite), stuffing, cheese potatoes, cranberry sauce, casseroles, and pie. I did not do quite as well today – I ate my first 3 meals as planned, but went off the plan a bit – a pita and hummus instead of a sweet potato and chicken, and I ate some of the Cinnamon Swirl Protein Bread I made to share with my family today. Did I go out and binge on junk and dessert? Nope. Did I follow the off season plan exactly? Nope. I was not quite as disciplined today as I was yesterday, but I’m still proud of myself overall. Maybe I wasn’t perfect, but I did so much better than I would have a year ago. I have discipline to thank for that, which is the result of several months of practice.
It’s a slippery slope when you start making excuses. When you want something bad enough, you start working toward it immediately. There is always a reason out there to justify procrastination – “I’ll start my diet after Thanksgiving. Well actually, I’ll start it after the company holiday party. Errr…maybe I’ll just start it after Christmas. Hmmm…I’ll just make it my New Year’s resolution, I’ll start then. Oh, but I have that birthday party/happy hour/wedding/etc. I’ll start my diet after that.”
See what I mean? And that’s why I didn’t wait until after the holiday to get back on track. I want to know that I can stay the course no matter what is going on because there is always something that will come up and tempt you to make a detour.
See challenge as opportunity! You will be that much more proud of yourself and confident in your abilities when you triumph! And if you try, but don’t succeed, take a lesson from what went wrong and make a better choice the next time you are faced with an obstacle. Practice makes perfect!