I always wondered how the skinny people managed to stay skinny when I saw them eating pizza and ice cream with my own eyes. Or average weight people who I saw at a ballgame pigging out on fries, hot dogs, burgers and beer.
The trick in this "it's a lifestyle, not a diet" perspective, I am learning, is to make a quick recovery after the indulgence and to keep your eye on the goal ahead.
In the past I would eat well for x number of days or weeks and then go hog wild eating everything in sight for a day, which became two days, which turned into a guilt-laden week and possibly into a slip so bad I didn't even feel remorse anymore as I ate anything I wanted (and gained back substantial weight in the process).
Right now I'm in a really good place and see things much differently.
This past holiday weekend I had a 4 day slip. I ate ice cream, cake, cookies, barbecue, bread, more ice cream...you get the idea. By Sunday night I had gained a full 5 pounds. In four days. You read that right.
Monday morning I decided to not look back, not beat myself up and not worry about it. I ate healthy this week, hit the treadmill or the trails every single day, did weight training as scheduled, and ate super cleanly. I didn't undercut my calories. I ate what I was supposed to, drank lots of water, avoided all sugar and most flour, and kept my body moving. In other words, I did what I have been doing without beating myself up over last weekend.
And guess what?
I am down two pounds. I don't mean I gained those 5 and now lost 2 so I'm still up 3 (if you followed that math.) I mean, I lost those 5 PLUS an additional 2!
They are gone and I understand why. It was a QUICK recovery while my body was still used to a higher metabolism and used to eating cleanly. My healthier body helped me process that unhealthy stuff quickly.
If that slip turned into a couple of weeks, my metabolism would have slowed way down, my muscles would have started to decrease, and my body would have gotten attached and snuggly with the extra fat. I would have been on the fast track to gaining it all back!
Here's today's advice.
If you have a glutton-fest, well, so be it. Don't let that be an excuse to keep slipping. Let that be a motivator to work out well, eat cleanly, and turn it back around quickly. And don't wait for "Monday". Get up NOW. You will feel SO glad you did.
Now I'm not worried about the odd pig out day. I am starting to understand that it's a day, a choice, a way to enjoy the moment - without derailing the master plan even a little...IF that's how I handle it and IF it happens rarely. The more frequently, obviously, the less likely to recover.
My goodness. I think this might be what that "lifestyle change" lingo is all about.