Wednesday, August 01, 2007

Fitness Setbacks and Remedies

While I was at the hospital with Aidan, I couldn't leave the room, which meant that I had to eat the food they brought me. Yuck. Paradoxically, this led to a setback -- probably because it triggered off an emotional reaction of deprival and then when I got back home I wanted to eat everything in sight. Plus, bits-and-pieces hospital meals -- one night I had buttered pasta, corn, and a roll on my plate! -- are so carb-heavy and protein light that my blood sugar was jumping all over the place.

And finally, stuck in the room, I couldn't really exercise beyond pacing up and down in the room. I am sure the general emotional stress took its toll, too. This added up to a maintenance setback, and realizing that setbacks are probably part of the big picture, I think it's a good idea to have a plan for them.

I have read that having a plan B, a method of getting back on track after setbacks, is a good thing. I know I have a plan like this for homeschooling and for housekeeping. Here's a couple of articles:

Overcoming weight loss setbacks

Readers' best maintenance tips
Getting back on track

I also read that maintenance is much like weight loss --in fact, it should be a continuation of it. This is similar to an insight my daughter shared with me -- that if you live a healthy lifestyle, then the whole weight question will take a back seat to the habits that get you to and keep you at the optimum weight. Two things I've learned about this:

  • You don't want to feel deprived. Honestly, this is a biggie for me -- this hospital experience just confirmed it. Maybe other people don't have deprivation issues, but I do. It is probably because I feel so absolutely wretched when my blood sugar is low -- shakes, weakness, depression, hunger pangs, the whole thing. I should have brought almonds with me or trail mix. At the time, I think I was thinking that it would be good for me to deal with relying on strangers for nourishment. Well, I learned that is not safe. Not at this point. Advice to self: Next time bring a survival kit.
  • You want to keep larger goals in mind than simple weight loss. In other words, weight loss is more of a byproduct of staying healthier in general. There is a balance somewhere between obsessing, and not paying enough attention. I find this to be true of my religious faith, homeschooling, house maintenance, child-raising and all the other marathon-type things in my life. The Plan has to include some room for falling down and getting back on one's feet again. Perfection is really not a realistic plan. .... it shortcircuits excellence.

“In order to go on living one must try to escape the death involved in perfectionism.” (Hannah Arendt)

So about goal setting -- a couple more articles:

Setting and Achieving Health-Related Goals
Setting Realistic Fitness Goals

Also, I am not a runner -- hiking is more my speed -- but I have been finding encouragement in reading the Runner's World magazine (my relatives have some back issues at the lakeshore cabin I was staying at with Aidan). It contains lots of articles about health, eating habits, fitness tips, and exercises routines, without the intense body-image focus of women's magazine. So to me, it provides a more holistic approach. I like reading articles about the runners' lifestyle, but I bet there are dancing magazines, mountain climbing magazines or other kinds of fitness-oriented periodicals that would be inspiring to people who like different kinds of active hobbies.

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