Monday, March 28, 2011

Lessons from a Binge

It's Monday, and I am willing to bet there are more than a few people kicking themselves thinking, "just water and lettuce today...I have to undo the weekend!" 

Binge eating is no joke, and can happen quickly when you're already on a slippery slope of restricted calories, over-training, and fatigue.  I know because I've been there.  I know how that Monday food hangover feels.  It feels like crap.

I used to be really really "good" all week, and then the weekend would come.  Wine!  Cheese!  Dessert!  More wine!  More dessert!  Repeat until Monday when I would dutifully don my workout clothes and march myself to the gym to undo the damage.

But I couldn't undo the damage, because while I might exercise away the calories and hydrate away the bloat, my behavior was what needed the real workout. 

Today's Daily Dose is "Fitness success doesn't require the will to win, it requires the will to prepare. Do you have it?"   The will to change your behavior isn't enough to stop binge eating.  You need the will to prepare what's necessary to make those changes.  Because - can I get an Amen - the "I need to stop" that sounds so loud on Monday morning is but a tiny whisper at the back of a long tunnel on Saturday night when you're facing the Chocolate Thunder from Down Under and two spoons.

Just so we're clear, the other spoon should be for someone else. :)

Anyway, here's what got me to finally change my weekend eating behavior: I stopped myself in my whiny little tracks and thought about how events transpired to create this perfect storm of loosened resolve, what role I played in facilitating those events, and what I could do to prevent them from happening again.

Usually, it came down to three things:

1. My nutrition was too severely limited, and I felt like I had been so "good" I "deserved" a break.
2. My workouts were so rigorous that I was fatigued mentally and physically, too weak to resist.
3. I was socializing and had a party mentality. 

Now, it wasn't easy to get to these conclusions.  I had to ask myself a lot of questions and have a lot of "ah-ha!" moments before I started noticing the patterns.  I put stickers on my calendar for days when I felt really good about my nutrition and workouts, and noticed that every three weeks I went about three days without stickers.  Here's why: every three weeks I had some kind of party or out of town trip.  Restaurant food.  Sugar.  Alcohol.  I was set up!
So here's what I did: I changed up my nutrition to something more substantial,  I added a rest day on Thursday so I wouldn't be so tired on the weekend, and I became very picky about the parties and restaurants I went to.  I also had some very tough-love talks with myself about what I wanted more: a healthy and vibrant body or a brownie that takes two minutes to eat. 
Sometimes the brownie made a really good argument. Hey, I'm just being honest.
But the other 97% of the time I remembered that nothing tastes as good as being healthy feels.
If you have a food hangover today, get out a pen and paper and think about what led you to that place.  People, events, places, mood, energy all counts.  Then, think about what you can do to influence those things next time to Monday doesn't have to be manic.
You deserve a treat: the treat of being good to yourself. 
Good day!


Pam said...

I normally try to refrain from the generic "great post!" comments, but I'm too mentally drained to come up with anything more clever, and this was a great post.


Great post!

Heather said...

Thanks Pam! I feel your pain, and I appreciate the sentiment. :)