One of the things on my task list for this weekend was to pick-up a couple of pairs of new pants… pants that actually fit. GREAT PROBLEM TO HAVE, right? Absolutely. What’s even better is that when I was in the fitting room trying things on yesterday, I actually needed an associate to grab me the same pairs of pants -each in a smaller size. And even after trying those on, I still had to go another size down from that.
I’m still not sure how I feel about this. Totally #firstworldproblems, I know. On the one hand, this is clear evidence that this cut is working. Yet on the other hand, I haven’t been able to wear below a size 30-waist in —I can’t even remember when! All disbelief aside, and believe me – I am in COMPLETE disbelief, this is definitely not what I expected after the kind of week that I’ve had.
Let’s take a step back to a couple of weeks ago. I went into my 5th week of this 8-week program with steel will, and excited to close out the second half with a carb-cycling (In case you’re not familiar with carb-cycling, I switch from a low-carb day to a high-carb day throughout the week) nutrition plan (complemented with well-planned workouts, of course). That week was a good one: my meal prep was easy, adjusting to the carb-cycling pretty much went without a hitch, the scale was my friend, and save for a couple of extra calories here and there on a given day or two, I was pretty much on.
As life would have it, though, this past week has been the complete opposite. On Monday, I struggled with my leg workout. It was so much of a struggle that I came completely close to ending my session early to head home and wallow in a bag of chips on my sofa. I grappled with my eating all week, especially during my “low carb/low cal” days. I also dealt with bloating, and the scale was not exactly making me feel comfortable compared to the week before. To top everything off, I woke up with pain in my right hand which pretty much made this morning’s back workout completely difficult.
Throughout the week, I wouldn’t let myself overthink all of the opposing situations that were manifesting before my eyes. But just as soon as I’d come to accept that I wouldn’t overthink the situation, I would overthink the situation. Classic Wen move, to be honest; that Gemini duality working overtime.
The positive part of it all, besides the surprise & delight of needing to go down to a size 29-pant, is that I didn’t allow myself to give in to whatever was driving my struggles for the week. On Monday, after having a hard conversation with myself about quitting, I took a breather then eventually finished my workout. Despite the extra cals I consumed throughout the week, I pushed through my increased cardio sessions each day (and made sure those extra cals were not coming from bad sources). I also came to accept the numbers my scale decided to throw at me, and use them to fuel my passion to “do better” the next day.
The truth is, if you’re going through any type of journey that requires you to work hard at something, you’re never going to experience perfection all day, every day. Whether your focus is on losing weight, putting on muscle, stopping smoking, looking for a job, shopping less… whatever your journey is, there will be triumphant days, and there will be not-so-triumphant days. Some days you’ll feel like the work is effortless, while other days you’ll feel like the work is worthless. But the process wouldn’t be a life-changing one if it didn’t come with ups and downs: as we get beat down by the process, we are molded into a new being –both literally and figuratively.
BUT WHY MUST IT BE SUCH A PROCESS?!
Well, as adults we all know that life throws curve balls. I can guarantee you that the “healthiest” among us also have their own struggles with wanting to do a workout, or choosing the “better” food option on any given day. Shit does happen.
THEN WHAT DO YOU DO WHEN SHIT DOES HAPPEN?
That, there, is the million-dollar question. After all is said and done, what you choose to do when you are faced with these “low” days is what matters. Obviously, if you choose wisely then you are all the better because of it. If you choose otherwise, then you know you’re just going to have to be much better the next day. Either way there are lessons learned (at least I hope so!), and a chance to forge a path forward.
Here are some ideas to help you get back on track after having an “off” week:
- Log your progress Keep a daily log of a couple of things in particular: your weight & what you are eating. I know, I know… The thought of keeping track of these things on a daily basis sounds grueling, but the truth is IF you have a goal in mind, keeping a record of your daily weight and your daily consumption will help you monitor how you should tweak some of your training variables. You don’t have to track forever; if anything, track for a given period of time relative to your time frame of reaching your goals.
When you weigh yourself, I recommend doing it in the morning… the first thing AFTER you get up and use the bathroom. (If you can pee & drop a deuce, that’s golden. If you can’t do both, then at least be sure to pee.) The weight that the scale reads back to you will be your “fasted weight,” and is generally thought of as your “true” weight. At the end of your week, take the average of the numbers as your overall weight for the week. As you do this week after week, you can gauge your progress over time.
And as I mentioned in last week’s blog, use an appropriate app to track your daily food intake.
- Set realistic goals So maybe you’ve done a 30-day program before, and barely made a dent in that timeframe due to a number of reasons: social commitments, business trips, late nights or early mornings at the office… Then you do another 30-day program, and the same happens. Chances are, 30 days may not be your best option. Consider a longer term plan that allows you a bit more flexibility to get you toward your goal. You also have to be extremely realistic about setting your goals. If you want to lose 10-12 lbs in 30 days, then you BEST be prepared to be 110% “on,” because the slightest shift from that plan will only stall your progress. A healthy goal to consider: aim for 1-2% lbs lost per week. If you work harder at it, and are able to lose more weight per week, then by all means you just need to go for it. But sticking to realistic goals based on your commitment to following your plan will generally get you in the right direction.
- Keep going I cannot stress enough how important it is to keep going, even when you feel like you are at your worst. Those low periods are the breeding grounds for quitting, so it’s important not to get caught up. You already know how hard it is to get started, and you’ve come a good way towards your goal. Let a minor slip up be just that: minor. Get back on the saddle, and ride on.
- Surround yourself with people who support your goal(s) Now this can be the tricky part, and it really is important not only for you, but for those around you –especially your family and friends. The more you put yourself in the company of those who are supportive of you and your goals, the easier it gets. For all family members and friends out there, don’t be assholes! Be champions for your family members or friends who are working hard! They will need positive people in their corner, especially during these low periods.
Remember that we all experience the same struggles. Even the most fit people that you see on your Instagram feed go through these tough times, so you’re not alone. Trust the process, but more importantly – trust yourself. Your goals are well within your reach.