Thursday, August 1, 2013

Ditching the Scale

I have a very "all or nothing" approach to most things in life; it's either 110% balls to the wall or nothing. Sometimes this can work to my advantage, I think it makes me a pretty good friend because I'd do anything for the people I care about, and now that I'm at full-force mentally with giving the right kind of time and attention to the gym it has become second nature. Todd and I are kicking ass on our investment property because we've actually had some time to put into it the past week or so and we're gaining more momentum by the day--those are the times when my 110% mentality works in my favor. But of course the flip side to this (doing nothing) can be incredibly problematic, especially as it applies to my health. Laziness. Fatty McButterpants. It's a road I'm pretty familiar with.

What about when the 110% becomes the problem? Sometimes you get obsessed; I get obsessed. When I first started Crossfit in April of 2011 I was already getting into decent shape using my own hack version of weight watchers points system/clean eating which involved a shitload of BINDING grains (my digestion was a fucking nightmare) and literally working out like 3 hours a day (so dumb). After about a month of coming to the gym I sat down one day with Ash to talk nutrition and she introduced me to the premise of eating Paleo. I decided it was worth a shot because I felt like I needed something to break the plateau I had hit, and started reading up on anything CF/Paleo related that I could find. I discovered an article by Martin Berkhan about Intermittent Fasting and delved into those concepts head first too; by May I was ready to kick ass in the Paleo Challenge. Not only did I make it through the month without cheats (let me tell you about how fun it was watching my friends drink their faces off every weekend and sip my diet dew), but I also incorporated a pretty extreme version of Intermittent Fasting by doing alternate day 24 hr fasts through the week. I ended up cutting a pretty good amount of weight and dropping my body fat several percentage points to about 21%, but I was also hungry and bitchy and ready for a binge.

Thus started the emotional cf/paleo/binge/fail process that I've been cycling through for the better part of 2 years. I've never allowed myself to get to a point where I was super-sized again, but I have stepped my toe in the water plenty of times while basking in the pizza and cookie dough filled glory of a cheat day that turned into a week that turned into two months of "where the fuck is the gym at again?" We've had this discussion people, it's easy for me--maybe easier for me than most. You pile up enough of those "I'll do _________ tomorrow"'s and you end up with a whole lot of empty yesterday's.

The other major paleo-faileo issue I've experimented with was last spring. I was strict with the occasional cheat hour/day and yes, I got results in the form of a good weight loss and body fat drop (again to around 22%), but this is what I would eat on a typical day: Coffee and water til lunch Tuna and almonds for lunch Chicken and broccoli for supper. Maybe some more almonds. Maybe. Really, that's just setting yourself up for failure. I mean I was sub-1000 calories a day, wod'ing and doing man's work for a job. I went through this song and dance again in the fall (after half-assing it all last summer), and did the same thing--major losses, unsustainable eating.

Two major issues with all this-- 1. I'm already an emotional wreck with all the insanity that goes on in my life, and 2. I've been mentally programmed my whole life to self-soothe with food. So the things that needed to happen this time around were to wrangle the emotional aspect of my eating and make it just about fueling myself, and to stop trying to survive on a few leaves of lettuce and the occasional breath of air. I ditched the scale because it makes me crazy and obsessive, and odds are if I stepped on and for some reason was up 1/4 of a pound I would get pissed and rip snort through the first package of oreos I could locate. This time I made it about how I feel physically/mentally/emotionally and how I'm performing at the gym. No more counting my almonds like the Rain Man or obsessing over what my next meal would be or what I'd eat on my cheat day. It hasn't been easy and I've had some shit days but I really feel like I'm getting a grip. For someone like me, that's empowering.

It's been several weeks now and I decided I want to start keeping some kind of measure of my progress from this point forward, so I asked Ash to do a body fat for me today. Honestly I was a little worried, but after the wod I asked her how it all came out and she told me I'm at 18% body fat. Seriously? That's lower than when I was NOT EATING EVERY OTHER DAY. I'm eating way more and I'm doing way less (at least when it comes to physical labor), and I'm not hangry (hungry+angry). And you know what else? Sometimes I eat a shitload of almond butter with half an apple or a whole stinkin banana! *Not often, but sometimes* I wouldn't even look at fruit before!

I still don't know what the number on the scale said today when she had to weigh me, and I don't really care. The only numbers I care to worry about now are the weights on the bar, and I want them to go up. I feel good, I'm enjoying going to the gym and doing my best, and sometimes I even feel good when I look in the mirror. That's a big step for me and that's all I need.

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