How I Spent My December Vacation

SPOILER:

A cartoon of a woman sitting at a trash-strewn computer desk

"How I Spent My December Vacation, by Eve. Chapter One: There Was Lots of Star Wars TOR and Even Some Chicken McNuggets."

Oh, December, crusher of dreams of living a healthier lifestyle. What a first world problem.

True, you could forego the endless array of candies, baked sweets, potlucks, super sweetened festive coffee drinks, and free disbursements of any and every foodstuff. People with discipline do it every year. That being said, I am definitely not one of those people. I would stay strong long enough to congratulate myself on my victory, then give in to having several chocolates a short time later.

Thanks to the structure of my calendar, I could have kept to my workout routine with little interruption, but I let hanging out with friends, taking a vacation to see my family in another state, and starting a new video game separate me quite firmly from my established habit.

As readers may recall, I set up a calendar in November to keep my training on track and map out my workouts so I wouldn’t be doing physical therapy two days in a row. Results time! Here’s what these last six weeks have looked like for me:

A photo of a wall calendar with workouts and measurement goals checked or crossed off

The results calendar - can you spot the point of failure? I can and do. Sigh.

Grades appear on the Sundays of each week: three green check marks, one yellow so-so, and two red Xs. My workouts have not been suffering alone: it’s been at least since early December when I last consistently tracked my food, too. But there are glimmers of hope – some days last week have workouts checked off instead of Xed out, and my eating hasn’t been uncontrollable.

Let’s Talk About The Food:

Although my food habits have lapsed, I have also tried hard to get enough vegetables and fill myself up enough where I’m not snacking the rest of the day. I started bringing not only a frozen lunch to work, but also brought an individual serving of steamed vegetables. My favorite big box retailer was selling them for $1/apiece most days I went food shopping this month, and that was such a great deal for the convenience.  So this was often my lunch:

A frozen microwavable entree box and a frozen vegetables box on a counter.

"But what about lunch? Beautiful lunch, day after day after day."

The tide of holiday food will ebb, but frozen vegetables will always be there to fill me up completely at lunch. It’s such a good idea that I’m considering doing the same for breakfast, since I still do snack all morning, and having my fiber bar, protein drink, and granola bar as a 3-part breakfast all morning doesn’t always keep me sated. The diet still needs tinkering with to make it sustainable.

Back To The Physical:

My stretching has not been what it should be. It has been brief and irregular. Are these the actions of a person who no longer wishes to get completely better? Apparently. It’s a shame I haven’t pushed myself to work out more consistently; I have come a long way, but I’m still not back to normal, and I really don’t want to go backwards.

How easy it is to forget about having limitations, having to struggle to work through them still, when you’re so close to being normal again. I went to the pet store last weekend and got two big bags of dog food, then hit the grocery afterward to buy holiday meal food and canned food drive items – lots of heavy bags, a ham, etc. I carried it all into the house by myself in a couple of trips. I felt so strong and normal being able to do these things. Just half a year ago, I couldn’t help move furniture, mow the lawn, or even shrug my shoulders. Consistent exercise and stretching have given me so much.

Speaking of regular and incremental things: posting in the daily threads and keeping data on myself were prompted by the Reddit community, and I feel a great indebtedness to the community for being supportive and giving me the infrastructure upon which to hang my hopes. I didn’t hit my weight loss goal, but I have made progress in flexibility, I’ve started weightlifting again, I’ve changed eating habits, and I have such a great resource on tap for dealing with soreness, injuries, cravings, and boredom. I’m staying with the community for this next round, and I’ve already made myself a new calendar in preparation.

Newly printed calendar pages for Jan-Mar 2012 with workouts listed each day.

A cleaner calendar for the next round.

The first day of the next round is the first day of 2012, I believe. (If not, I’ve got the templates ready where I can print a new calendar). I’m getting ready for the new foray. I don’t want to make any promises about what I”ll be doing the rest of my December, all 5 days left in it, but I will try to use my free will in a responsible manner before I re-devote myself to a routine.

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