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A controlled burn

I have been lying to myself and it’s gone on too long.

After a long work-week of tracking calories, exercising, running my daughter every night and WORKING full-time, I have been taking a break from counting calories over the weekend. My weight on Friday mornings was always the lowest so I would allow myself a day or so of freedom before I would get back on plan.

I sure did a lot of damage in that one day.

The past weekend was no exception. On Friday morning, I weighed 201.6 and after binge eating all day Saturday – which included chocolate, popcorn, a huge helping of Chinese food, a couple of beers and a massive bowl of ice cream before bed – I weighed in Monday morning at over 208 pounds. Now that is one way to completely wipe out the progress I had made the week before.

You would think I would learn this lesson the first time but no. I have been living this miserable Groundhog Week since mid-December! My weight on Friday mornings has been around 202 for almost 2 months! I lose the weight and then gain it back in just 24 hours’ time. The first few times it happened, I blamed it on water retention, muscle building and my body’s stubbornness to release more fat cells, but you know how the saying goes, “Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me . . . 7 times, SHAME ON ME!”

When I am binge eating on those so-called free days, I am completely out of control.

Remember the scene in the movie Apollo 13 when Tom Hanks and his crew have to course correct their shuttle (power up their engines and blast ahead) without the use of their electronic instruments? To achieve success, they have to focus on a fixed point out of their window. They ironically pick the Earth, which is the reason they are fighting for their lives – so they can go home. It is one of the most suspenseful moments in the story because Tom is yelling instructions to his crew, the earth is bouncing all around the frame of the window and everything is moving so fast! By some miracle, they get to the right spot and then quickly power down the engines so they stay there.

For the last couple of months, I have not kept my eye on the prize. The weekends have always been my time to relax and let my cares go to the wind, but that is exactly why I would go so far off course.

I can already feel the stress of this week on my shoulders and I look forward to sleeping in, going out to eat and enjoying a movie with popcorn and snacks. But if I don’t plan ahead – by pre-tracking or at least ball-parking my calories – I will lose sight of One-derland once again. There needs to be a way that I can enjoy some treats on the weekends without sabotaging my progress from the week before.

For starters, my back is just about healed so I will make sure to take some exercise classes on Friday, Saturday and Sunday. Plus, I will have plenty of time to walk around the track on Saturday and Sunday. That will give me some extra breathing room.

Side note - I tried sleeping on the couch and learned that my back is much happier in the morning compared to when I slept on my sides in bed. I am slowly transitioning to the bed, but not rushing it. I did a weight-lifting class on Wednesday and felt NO back pain. I decided to call myself “Wolverine!” (He was a character from the X-Men movies and had a genetic mutation which caused him to heal very quickly from any injury.)

The next step, after making sure to exercise, is to plan my meals so I can save some extra calories for those special snack times. For instance, I should drink a protein shake or just eat a lighter lunch if I am going to eat out for supper. But more than that, I need to actually plan how much I will eat when I go to the restaurant. The My Fitness Pal app will most likely have calorie counts for most of the foods at any national chain restaurant so I can easily pull up the menu and make my food choices based on calories, rather than just my own wants and desires. It’s amazing how much your “desires” change when you figure out that one meal is 500 more calories than another!

It might even be helpful to enter my calories in backwards. If I know I want a chocolate cone, dipped in chocolate, from Dairy Queen, then I can enter that in the “snacks” section of my food diary. Next, I could enter my dinner meal – making sure to be extra generous with calories since restaurants usually do not skimp on them. After those numbers are in the app, it’s much easier to know how many more calories I have left for the day.

So rather than beating myself up and calling myself a liar, I should have been keeping my focus on where I want to be by taking the time to do some extra planning. Exercising and tracking calories after meals will only get me so far. I have proven that to myself over and over. I just need to keep moving, planning and following through so I can make my dreams come true!

Unlike the crew on the Apollo 13 mission, I will have countless opportunities to “course correct” throughout my lifetime. But like them, there is nothing I want more than to get home to my One-derland. I am oh so close.

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