Monday, February 3, 2014

My "But" Is My Problem.

I'm three days into my 28 Day Challenge, and I've discovered one very simple and obvious truth:
My "but" is my problem.
 I should probably explain.

For the most part, I tend to avoid the scale. I don't obsess about my weight or feel the need to chase a specific number. Instead, I pay attention to things that mean more to me.

  • Are my clothes fitting more snug this week than they did last week?
  • Am I sluggish and tired?
  • Was my pace noticeably slower than the last time I ran this distance?

These are cues to me that I need to refocus on my overall health and fitness. And over the last month, my answers to those questions were more often a "yes." To get back on track, I've created a 28 Day Challenge for myself. I'll share the details of the challenge in a later blog (when I have some results to share, too!), but the basic idea is that I am going to be completely focused on fitness and nutrition for all of February.

And that brings us to the title of this blog entry. As I was planning out my month, it became immediately clear that my "but" is my problem.

I will eat healthy and work out the entire month...
... but not the first weekend, because friends are visiting.
... but not Super Bowl Sunday.
... but not the next Friday and Saturday, because I'll be with a friend out of town.
... but not Sunday the 9th, because I'm going to LA to see The Book of Mormon.
... but not the 15th through the 18th, because my friends are visiting from out of state.
... but not the 20th through the 23rd, because I'll be running Ragnar Del Sol with my friends.

See what I mean? I make plans to stay on track with my eating and my working out, then my "but" gets in the way.

What's a guy to do? I want the results that come from completing the challenge, but I also want to have the fun that comes with seeing friends, celebrating good times, and indulging with favorite foods and drinks.

And that, in a nutshell, is my constant struggle. I am a very social person who needs to engage with friends, so hiding away for a whole month is not a solution. I might get through the physical challenge but my mood would be truly foul.

Abandoning the challenge in favor of my social life isn't a solution, either. I'd have fun with friends but be secretly miserable about how I feel physically.

Here, then, is the solution I have come up with. Instead of an either/or, I am going to find a way to respect both my need for consistent workouts and nutrition with my desire for social activities.

Yes, I enjoyed my friends visiting. But while they had a few beers, I was content with a single Diet Coke and a lot of water. It was their company I enjoyed, not the excuse to opt out of the challenge I had just begun.

Yes, I enjoyed Super Bowl Sunday. I had a great time, in fact, commenting non-top on Facebook with the hashtag #superbowlwithjohn. I opted out of traditional Super Bowl Sunday foods and alcohol, though, choosing to go with a healthy menu. And for the day, I was well under my planned calorie intake.

Yes, I am looking forward to spending time with my friend in Dana Point this coming weekend. And I'll indulge a bit with the food and drink. But I'll be very specific about my eating, track the calories, and get out for my scheduled long run.

It will be the same for the rest of the month. I'll enjoy what I'm doing and make sure the social interaction is the focus, not the food or drinks. I can honor my commitment to my physical fitness without sacrificing the fun of life. If not, what's the point of being healthier if not to enjoy the days I'm living?

I guess I don't have a "but" problem, after all.

And with that, I'll share a little something that will soon be hitting the Facebook page of From Fat To Finish Line. There will be a series of images and quotes featuring all of our teammates, and here is a sneak peek of one with me!