This quote is frustratingly accurate:
“When we try to control, we become controlled; when we release, we become free.” – Bryant McGill
I have control issues. It has been helpful to me in some ways, but I’m trying to let go of some control and that’s tough. I have been keeping tabs of everything I have eaten for about 2 years now. I diligently pick up my smartphone, open the MyFitnessPal app, look up then log every single bit of food. That truly helped – I’m not trying to knock the practice of self awareness and monitoring calorie intake. That being said, I have come to the realization over the last few months that I don’t really need to do that anymore. To say that my habits are sticking is an understatement; in fact I think the word habit is inadequate. I’ve adjusted my whole lifestyle.
Then why am I still counting every single calorie? Why am I wasting that time obsessing over it? I am controlled by my own need to control. I’m sick of it. I feel burdened by it, and I’m the one who has made the choice to do it. I have decided it’s time to let that go (cut to Frozen…)
I’m not cutting every fitness app. I like to know how much I am doing. I love my Fitbit, I get to compete with my friends and family and it motivates me to keep moving. I also like knowing details such as speed and distance when I go running or biking, or how far my husband and I wander on adventure hikes, so I will keep using Runtastic as well. But I am done logging calories eaten. I am so happy I found MyFitnessPal when I began trying to get healthy. It absolutely made me change my behaviors with food and helped to shine a light on what kind of choices I could make in my diet to lose weight. And I plan to keep the app so if I am curious about calorie content I can still use it for the food database. (It also cleanly synchronizes my exercises up to Fitbit from other apps. It’s easier to just keep it for that purpose than to reconfigure it all – I tried and failed.)
I logged my food yesterday. That was it, I told myself as I entered the food, the last day I’m recording it. To be perfectly honest, I feel weird about not using it today. I have to train my brain that I’m done with that task. I’ve only been awake a few hours and it already feels like I’m forgetting something I need to do.
I know that I won’t backslide. And god forbid I do, I clearly know how to log calories and go back to those behaviors. I just don’t see that happening. I love exercising, eating healthy, and the way my body feels now compared to the old me. I believe I can maintain and have a little more freedom away from that nagging side of my brain as well.
My first step in the goal to do a half marathon has been officially checked off the list today. I ran my first 5k this morning and I did pretty well!
My goal was to try to get it done in 30 minutes. I practically nailed it, got it in 30 minutes, 8 seconds! Quite pleased with myself.
I went solo. It was a little strange to not have any familiar faces there with me. My husband was out out of town on a business trip (he wasn’t told about it until after I signed up) and my friend who was planning to join me got an opportunity to work (very late) the night before and couldn’t run so early. I was a little nervous; I didn’t have the social buffer of someone else to chat with and figure out what to do. But I went, and I did it. Ultimately this was something I did for myself so doing it alone kind of gave me an added sense of accomplishment. Even still, I know that the 5k was not a huge hurdle for me at this point. I’m already planning to sign up for a 10k when an interesting one crosses my path. By next year, I am planning to tackle the half marathon. I feel pretty confident that I am progressing well and will be ready.
On my last progress post I stated that I wanted to sign up for a 5k and start training towards longer races, like a half marathon. I’m already making good on both of those goals!
I have officially signed up for my first 5k. In March I will be participating in the Run to Fight Children’s Cancer. Stoked! I’ve been invited to run on a team, and I think I’ve even successfully talked my best friend into running with me. *Pats self on back*
As for longer distance training… this one scares me, I have to admit. There is a group of folks from my work that get together and go trail running a few days a week. Unfortunately they typically go on days I can’t. I have an unconventional work week; my weekends are Sunday and Monday plus my workday starts at the freakishly early hour of 6:30 AM – there isn’t a chance for me to go and then work after and they don’t happen to run on my days off. BUT! This week I have a few personal days off and they are hitting the trail on Saturday morning. I am going to join them. Here’s where I get jittery: it’s over 9 miles. I’ve been reassured that it’s a very slow pace and it’s OK to walk the tough parts. It’s a trail I typically go hiking on, a lot of steep inclines then drops. I was worried I’d get made fun of for walking instead of running up the mountains but was told that was normal, no worries. So… I am going for it. And fucking nervous as all hell. But it’s worth trying! I’m a big fan of meeting goals, I don’t think many things in life feel as good as conquering something you didn’t think you could do. If I eat shit, so be it. However, I have been working hard at increasing my stamina and endurance. I think this is a great way to see what I can really do. Wish me luck, I’ll update with how it went later.
Typically I have done all of my exercise at the gym and on my bike. Since the weather in Arizona has cooled off recently I’ve added hiking into the mix more often as well. I decided I was ready for another big hurdle in my world: RUNNING OUTSIDE.
This has always seemed an impossible task. Now, I have no idea why this has been such a struggle for me. I’ve always just sucked at running. Even when I was a petite little school kid I struggled to run a mile in one go. There’s been a few times in my life I’ve attempted jogging outdoors with limited success, but even then I never could do more than a mile or a mile and a half before I felt like I was going to fall over. To be fair — I was a smoker during those later attempts, so I can only imagine my lung capacity was garbage.
I thought since I have had so much success with the long distance running on the treadmill and elliptical at the gym I was ready to take it outdoors. I started my first attempt a few weeks ago. I went to a high school near my home and did laps on the track to see how it felt. I did about a mile and a half before I quit. Not bad. The next week I did the same, another mile and a half, but this time lapping around a park by my house. I mentioned the lap running to a friend who basically told me that sounded boring. I had to agree – I might as well stay on the treadmill, there is no adventure in a circle. Last week I walked to the same canal path I ride my bike on and decided to go for it. Granted, this was no marathon run, but I ran down the path and back and loved it. I went about 3 and a quarter miles total that day, so technically I ran my first 5k… without stopping. This was a big victory for me. It helped me to once again prove to myself that I really can do a lot. I shouldn’t assume I can’t do things – it just might be that I can’t do them yet.
*** I used Runtastic (synchronized with MyFitnessPal and Fitbit Flex) for these outdoor runs to help measure both distance, steps taken, and calories spent.
I have found what works for me. And that is IN MY FACE accountability. I use apps to help me with my success. The number one app I use every single goddamn day is MyFitnessPal. I input everything I eat and drink as well as keep track of calories I burn while exercising. In a way it’s like a game for me, and calories are points. I “win” when I come in under budget. I love it, and the best part of that app is the database is huge! Almost every food can be found in there, you can even scan barcodes and create frequent meals/recipes.
I also use Runtastic (along with it’s sister product Road Bike) to track my bike rides and hiking/walking. They are perfect because they synchronize with MyFitnessPal. All I have to do is turn on Runtastic (or Road Bike) when I’m doing an activity, then when I’m done it uploads the calories burned automatically for me.
I have realized I need something that’s easy for me to keep up with. Like I said with the ‘in my face’ bit — I’m always screwing around on my phone. It’s really easy for me to log into the MFP all throughout the day to tally what I’ve eaten. I’m constantly reminded to do so because it’s right on my iPhone’s homescreen. I don’t even have to try to remember to do it anymore, it’s a habit.
MyFitnessPal does something else for me that’s brilliant – it speedily helps me to make smart choices. Before ordering a cocktail or food, I look it up and see whether it’s cool or not. It’s kind of gross when I realized some foods I used to order and think were healthy (like some salads) are over 1000 calories for a single serving. Unnecessary! It leads to wiser choices and thinking twice before having one more beer… that is just empty calories.