17 October 2002
I now understand why childbirth was such a big deal in earlier years, when women were
expected to rest in bed for days/weeks/months following a birth. Compared with peasant
women who would give birth in the fields, put the baby on their backs and continue working
(which culture is the more "advanced"!!!). Or even today, with drive-by
childbirth without even an overnight stay in the hospital. Your body responds to what you
expect of it.
My body had become accustomed to getting up in the morning and pumping its legs off
flying down the bike paths of Davis in the pre-dawn hours. When my body woke up in Marina
del Rey for several days in a row and only had to stagger as far as the coffee pot, it
began to get soft.
I knew it would be an adjustment getting back into the biking routine this morning, but
I had no idea that less than two weeks of no-biking-to-speak-of would have such an amazing
impact. Cindy and i have been doing this course in about 40-45 minutes a day, averaging 12
mph and, since I got The Blue Angel, doing it in 6th gear.
Today I averaged 9 mph and shifted down into 5th gear more times than I care to admit.
It's been a gear I've hardly even used since buying this bike.
Not only that, but when we returned home, my legs felt similar to the way they felt the
first time I went 12 miles with Haggie on the American River Bike Trail. Weak and shaky
and not really wanting to move at all. (In fairness, I'm not 100% recovered from my upper
respiratory infection of last week, so that may be a contributing factor, but mostly I'm
blaming all of this on slothfulness.)
Absolutely fascinating, on an intellectual level, to see how quickly newly forming
muscles can be reduced to quivering masses of jelly again. Obviously "vacations"
like this cannot be allowed to happen too often!
The plus side of this, however, is that I know how quickly I can get back into
"shape" again after this brief set-back, so I'm not really worried about it.
I had wonderful reassuring feedback on yesterday's entry about my slothful/food-filled
weekend. Jennifer, who is going through the same "rebuilding momentum" that I am
at present. writes, "I marvel at how quickly - 7 days - my body adjusts back to a 'no
workout' mode - it was like forcing this bod (that has been working out 8x a week for over
a year) to do something it had never done before!!"
She continues, "I may not have worked out for 7 days....but I thought about it
every single one of those days...and by day 8 over my own dead body was I not going to
work out. Same with the eating. It was killing me to 'get back to it' and I was so
relieved once I did - not from a 'good' or 'bad' standpoint; but in the same sense I'd be
relieved to hit the surface of the ocean and take my first breath of air after having been
dragged through a rip tide....a sense of relief from having survived something dangerous
to my wellbeing."
She really nails it. As I wrote recently, this is the point in my previous diets where
I'd let things start to slide. But having added exercise to my routine, I know that this
weight loss and body re-shaping has come at the cost of a lot of work and I'm not
willing to put forth that much effort only to go back to where I was 10 months ago. I did
NOT want to go to WeightWatchers yesterday, but I went. I did NOT want to bike with Cindy
this morning, but I did. I probably won't want to go to the club tomorrow, but I will. I
am going to get back on track again...and again...and again...and again (since I know that
my make-up and my lifestyle will put me in the same position that I was in over the
weekend over and over again. Some days I will be stronger than others, but I want to
become strong after the fact, whether I've allowed myself to slip or not).
A different Jennifer concurs: "you're totally right, the longer you go the harder
it is to start again." So the secret is not to keep putting off starting again, but
to force yourself to start again even when you don't want to.
Jeannie adds, "Boy, can I ever Identify with what you said. It seems that once I
start eating, I'm a goner...and forget any social events. I figured out a long time
ago that if I didn't eat much at parties, weddings etc, I'd just go home and eat anything
that wasn't nailed down.So, I now eat at all those functions and just try to climb about
the eating right wagon as soon as I can, preferably the next day."
That's a big deal for me too. Eating being a lifelong emotional outlet for me, if I
feel that I can't participate with others around me (such as facing three stations full of
gourmet wedding goodies), it makes me want to eat. If I allow myself to get depressed for
eating "normally," that makes me depressed and makes me eat more, both as a way
of punishing myself and as a way of comforting myself. Eating can become a real lose-lose
situation for me, if I let it. However, if I'm realistic about it--admit, like Jeannie
suggests, that I'll just have what I want and then go back to the normal day to day
routine, I then have nothing to feel guilty about, nothing to feel deprived of, and it's
much easier to get back on track.
That's the beauty of a "lifestyle" vs. a "diet." "Diets"
are fraught with opportunities for failure. "Lifestyles" can be win-win
situations if approached properly.