A Hole in the Sidewalk

The past couple of weeks have been a struggle for me.  I have had visitors in town for the past few weekends and have been traveling a lot for work.  I abandoned my clean eating when spending time with my friends from out-of-town, and although I made a good effort to eat clean when traveling for work, my execution fell off significantly after the first day.  I also drank…a lot.  I only made it to the gym four times this week, although it just occurred to me while writing that sentence that four times in a week is actually still pretty good.

I think one of the reasons for this is the lack of a clearly defined goal.  Although I intend to compete again next year, it probably won’t be until the summer and I don’t have a specific show picked yet.  I alternate between wanting to get leaner and wanting to put on muscle, which are two mutually exclusive goals (you have to be in a caloric deficit to lose fat and you have to be in a caloric surplus to gain muscle).  So, what ends up happening is that I decide on the goal that is most convenient for me in the moment – when I am home without a lot of social stuff going on, I am in the gym for 2 hours and eating clean.  When I’m traveling for work or hanging out with friends, I decide that skipping the gym for a day or eating some extra calories doesn’t matter since I am trying to gain muscle.  Ultimately, the result is that I am not successful at either goal.

I found this poem the other day that really resonated with me (and will probably to many others who have weight loss/fitness goals):

“There’s a Hole in My Sidewalk” by Portia Nelson

Chapter One

I walk down the street.
There is a deep hole in the sidewalk.
I fall in.
I am lost… I am helpless.
It isn’t my fault.
It takes forever to find a way out.


Chapter Two

I walk down the same street.
There is a deep hole in the sidewalk.
I pretend I don’t see it.
I fall in again.
I can’t believe I am in the same place.
But it isn’t my fault.
It still takes a long time to get out.


Chapter Three

I walk down the same street.
There is a deep hole in the sidewalk.
I see it is there.
I still fall in… it’s a habit.
My eyes are open.
I know where I am.
It is my fault… I get out immediately.


Chapter Four

I walk down the same street.
There is a deep hole in the sidewalk.
I walk around it.


Chapter Five

I walk down another street.


I fall into the same holes over and over again.  It’s time to list out all of my holes and come up with strategies to walk around them or avoid them altogether.  I have a great opportunity to do this coming up.  I fly to Boston on Tuesday and am staying in the same hotel that I stayed in last week.  The rooms have a full kitchen, including refrigerator, stove, dishes, microwave, etc.  The free breakfast buffet in the morning has scrambled egg whites and plain oatmeal.  I already know which restaurant our dinner reservations are at for Tuesday night.  I have time to plan how to stay on track while I am there.  For me, I must have a specific plan going into something like that.  Simply saying, “I’m going to try to eat clean and use the gym while I’m there” doesn’t cut it.  My plan needs to look more like this:

  • Bring food with me – almonds, whey protein, dried edamame – so that I have snacks in between meals and will not be ravenous by the time we get to dinner
  • Make sure I work out the rest of the days of this week because I don’t think based on my schedule Tues and Wed that I will have time to use the hotel gym
  • Look at the menu for the restaurant in advance to determine the healthiest choice
  • Set a drink limit – i.e. one glass of red wine at dinner
  • Set a bed time because it is harder for me to limit my drinking the later I stay out and I will be inclined to make poor decisions the next day if I am really tired

I refuse to fall into a hole this week.  What are your holes and how can you bypass them?


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