the great unknown

Last night, I got home from work at 5:45pm. I started boiling a pot of water and heated up the spaghetti sauce and meatless meatballs. Fifteen minutes later, we sat down at the kitchen table for a dinner of whole wheat cappelini, garden vegetable spaghetti sauce, and meatless meatballs. My husband also made some garlic cheese bread for himself.

With dinner consumed, I settled onto the couch for the rest of the night and alternated between reading Master Your Metabolism and pretending not to watch the season premiere of The Walking Dead. I was exhausted. And I hurt.

I skipped Sunday's work out and thought I would be back to normal by Monday morning, but when my alarm went off Monday, I found it extremely difficult to get out of bed and make it to the gym. My calves were screaming, and my vision was blurrier than normal. But I went, and I finished a 30-minute circuit work-out. I was frustrated with my heart rate remaining below 136 for most of the work out, but I knew just finishing the work out meant something given that it was so hard to get there.

Monday afternoon, I spent my lunch hour swimming laps at the pool and completed 48 laps. Last week, I divided the laps and spent only 20 laps swimming while 22 laps were spent either just kicking or just pulling. This week, 40 of the 48 laps were either freestyle, breast stroke, or back stroke and the other 8 laps were just kicking.

Somewhere between climbing out of the pool and driving home at 5:00pm, my back started to hurt and to spasm. I considered taking the easy way out and stopping somewhere for dinner. Anything sounded good. Subway. Wendy's. McDonald's. Whataburger. I strongly considered taking the easy way out and doing anything but cooking.

Food impacts everything. How I feel. What I weigh. How I work out. My bank account. And the impact food has on everything is the reason I chose to head home, throw together a healthy dinner of spaghetti and then rest on the couch.

I also considered having a glass of wine (or two) with dinner or even after dinner, but I made a commitment to myself that I was going to drink only water this week. And I am sticking with it no matter what.

These little decisions are what will determine how quickly I arrive at my main goal. So much of the time I focus on the big picture and the end result. What my new wardrobe will be like. Running a marathon (I hope). And while it is good to have goals and to focus on those goals, I need to concentrate more on the little steps I need to take in order to get there.

I had a decision to make this morning. Once again, it was a decision that centered around food. When my alarm went off at 5:00am, I could have jumped out of bed and raced to the gym. There would have been cardio and weights followed by stretching, and then I would have raced back home to jump in the shower. I would have tossed eggs onto a pan and fried them on the stov, and I would have packed my lunch for the day. There would have been no thought to dinner, and we likely would have picked someone quick and relatively cheap to eat at for dinner.

But I know food is important. Possibly more important than exercise. I don't want that to be the truth, but it is. So I made the choice to stay in bed a little longer and then get up and spend the morning preparing three-bean turkey chilli. This will make tonight the third night in a row that I will have cooked dinner.

I wish I could eat whatever I wanted, work out 15-20 hours a week, and continue to lose weight. But I've tried that, and it doesn't work. It doesn't even work if I work out more than 20 hours a week and kind of pay attention to what I fuel my body with. So I am making food a priority. And enjoying searching pinterest for new recipes.
Baked Chicken, sauteed cauliflower, and butternut squash. Spaghetti. Turkey and 3-Bean Chilli.

And by cooking dinner most nights, I ensure that I have lunch the next day. I'm depending less and less on pre-packaged frozen dinners. I'm learning how to listen to my body and how to portion food correctly. I still have a ways to go, but I'm getting there. And I know reading books about diet and exercise will help to enrich my knowledge and empower me to continue to make better choices.

So far, my favorite part of Master Your Metabolism is how open Jillian is about her own struggles. With binge eating. With diet coke. With everything. It's reminded me that it is all about the choices we make, and it's reminded me that no one is perfect when it comes to health - not even one of the most famous trainers.

I'm open with my own struggles because I don't know how else to be. Losing weight is not an easy task. Nothing worthwhile is an easy task. So often, though, other people make it look easy, and suddenly you are looking at everyone around you and wondering why life has to be so difficult for you when it doesn't seem to be difficult for anyone else. So having someone be open about their own struggles speaks to me more than anything. It makes me want to be healthy; it helps me to make the choices that are right for mybody.

And the fact that I've lost two pounds already this week helps too.

(title from "keep your eyes open" by needtobreathe)

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