Sunday, June 8, 2008

The Rules I Break and Why

In my last post, I wrote about striving for progress and not perfection in my quest for healthy eating. In that post, I pointed out that I purposely break a rule commonly followed by people who eat healthy… I don’t eat 4-6 small meals a day. I realize that I break several standard healthy eating/exercise rules, so I thought I’d tell you which ones I break, and why.

Rule Broken: I don’t eat several small meals a day.

Why: OK, I covered this pretty well in my last post, but I’m going to add more here. I tried doing this several times. I really hated it. I was grazing all day, my mind was constantly on food, I never felt full, and I never enjoyed what I would consider a real meal.

My Alternative: I have at least one big meal a day. I aim to keep in a certain calorie range. How I divide those calories usually depends on the day. Most days though, I get at least one big meal.

Rule Broken: I don’t go to exercise classes.

Why: I don’t enjoy doing things in big groups. When I stopped trying to force myself to take group exercise classes, exercise became a lot more fun.

My Alternative: I workout by myself, with my husband, or with my personal trainer. Sometimes I run a 5K with a friend or two.

Rule Broken: I don’t have the stereotypical supportive trainer.

Why: I’m a woman who has had some major healthy problems and whose husband is terminally ill. People all around me have been incredibly supportive, and I love that. However, people tend to handle me with kid gloves. They are afraid I will break if they say the wrong thing to me.

My Alternative: Mike really enjoys making fun of me. He teases me mercilessly. He pushes me when I work out. He smacks me around when we are boxing. He doesn’t treat me like I’m going to break. Admittedly, I have had a few meltdowns in front of him. Recently, I got all melodramatic and was going to quit working out with him because I felt like a pathetic loser. Mike emailed me and told me, “You are someone that has busted their butt and even through all the crap you have gone through you are still working hard to achieve your goals. That is an amazing pathetic loser. What is it to be a winner, because if pathetic losers try that hard I want to be one as well…I will see you soon for our next appointment and bring the pathetic loser along because I liked her and how hard she worked.” Mike pushes me to my limits physically and emotionally, and most of the time, I take it quite well. When I start to crumble, Mike knows just what to do to get me back on my feet. This is not what I expected out of a personal trainer relationship, but is exactly what I needed.

Rule Broken: I drink Coke.

Why: Diet pop sucks.

My Alternative: I have a limit of one a day, and many days I don’t have one at all. One Coke once a day is better than all the diet crap in the world.

Rule Broken: I don’t drink a lot of water.

Why: I don’t really like it.

My Alternative: I drink some water, some milk, some G2, Propel, or Gatorade, and some juice. Occasionally I have coffee or tea. I used to walk around with a big container of water that I would force myself to drink. Ugh. No more.

Rule Broken: I weigh myself every day.

Why: Often experts say to ignore the scale and just weigh yourself once a week or once a month. However, I like to start the day with a little motivation, and the scale does that for me.

My Alternative: I weigh myself everyday, plus I weigh myself before and after long runs to check for dehydration. In addition, I take measurements every couple of months to see how my body is changing. I also like to have one pair of jeans that are too small as my motivation to get into the next smallest size.

That’s all the rules I can think of right now that I break. I’m sure there’s more. I think what is important when you are trying to lose weight is that you need to do what works for you and not necessarily do what works for someone else.

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