Monday, January 26, 2009

Hello, Old Friend. Now Get Out.

One of the things I love about fitness are the endless possibilities. Don't feel like running? Get on the elliptical. Elliptical too boring? Try bike intervals. Don't like the bike? Grab a jumprope. Incline walk. Run laps around the building. If you really want to get and stay active, excuses don't stand a chance.

I was introduced to some new possibilities last week when Capt. Awesome broke out his shiny new toys - sliding pads for lunges, ankle bands, and a new balance board. We had a great time testing everything out and laughing over how ridiculous we looked marching around the room with giant rubber bands around our ankles. But, it was a break from the routine and my lower body definitely felt it for a few days.

I stumbled upon some new possibilities again later in the week, but these weren't as much fun. I received a harsh reminder that, like exercise, nutrition is also constantly in flux. And, I discovered some new ways to screw up my diet and wreak havoc on my metabolism, sleep quality, and general well-being. Yep, you guessed it - sugar.

You might remember a blog post last year about banishing sugar from my diet, and I'm happy to report that I was successful at showing my fair-weathered friend the door. Since then, I've felt amazing, had much more energy, increased my stamina in the gym, and turned a corner in my body composition and training.

But the past month or so has been stressful, and I realized this past weekend that sugar had weaseled its way back into my good graces. Sleepless nights, jittery nerves, an irritable attitude, sluggish energy, probing questions from my husband about whether or not I was mad at him, and a constant nagging at my conscience told me that something was not right in my nutrition. It didn't take a genius to figure out why I was suddenly bitch supreme. Even organic all-natural sugar is still sugar. Call it fruit-sweetened, call it honey, call it stevia or whatever new kind of sugar-that's-not-really-bad-for-you-sugar-but-is-made-from-sugar is on the market. It's still sugar.

I was pissed! How could I have let this sneak in so...sneakily? Did I really get so comfortable and confident that I let my guard down that far? A quick glance at my food journal told me in black and white - while there are endless possibilities for getting and staying active, there are also endless possibilities for screwing it up.

Whatever. It's not the first time I've caught myself mid-backslide, and it won't be the last. Now that I've spotted the little tramp, I can easily toss her out the door and lock it behind me. She can pound her little fists and throw a fit, but I don't care. I can't stand that girl.

Optimum health is a journey, we all know that by now. There are no absolutes, no guarantees, no sure-fire silver bullets. But there is a rear-view mirror, and if we're lucky we'll be smart enough to glance in it once in a while and remember where we've been. I've been down the road with bad nutrition before, and I never want to go back. Shame on sugar for trying to trick me!

This is usually the part of my blog where I have some snappy little conclusion thought, something profound and contemplative, like when Doogie Howzer used to sum up at the end of each episode. But I don't really have that today, so I'll just end with this: health is full of endless possibilities for success and failure. Luckily, we can choose which ones we let in.


JennyB said...

Thanks for your thoughts, Heather. I am trying to get better on this front, stopping and thinking about the choices and the consequences, especially with diet. Do I really want that beer/dessert/bread/other calorie-laden treat or do I want to improve my health and self-image? A lot of the commitment to losing weight comes down to those little everyday choices and what is more important to you. Do you really need that sweet minute-long indulgence or would you rather see the success in the results you're working towards?

EDP said...

Sugar is not our friend! You should feel good about kicking that trollop to the curb, where it belongs.