Well, the interwebs have been flooded the past few days with blog updates, tweets and articles all about Thanksgiving and post-Thanksgiving eating and recovery. That said, I guess I might as well add to the pile. I wasn't going to at first because of the low points I experienced, but I've made some awesome progress the past few days, so I felt the need to share.
But first, let us back up to Wednesday before Thanksgiving. Oh man. I had just started that time of the month and I was just plain HUNGRY. Insatiable. Well, between PMS cravings and the bottomless pit that was my stomach, Thanksgiving Eve did indeed turn into an all-out junk fest. And I will be honest, knowing that the next day was Thanksgiving, I totally used that as an excuse to overeat. It was a bad move in retrospect, but one positive that came out of it all was that I wasn't guilt-ridden. I just didn't care. No, I shouldn't have ate all of that crap mindlessly and with complete abandon, but the fact that I didn't completely hate myself afterward was kind of a big deal. I'd like to think of it as major progress, with regards to my binging issue.
Thanksgiving Day: Yeah, I felt kinda crappy, but I did some cycling, Tae Bo and weight training anyway. Felt better and was still excited for the big meal. Even though I was still digesting Wednesday's nonsense, my goal was to keep a positive attitude and enjoy the next round of mucho food.
And I did. Everything was delicious and rich. But leftovers later that evening proved to be a mistake. That night, I really packed it in to the point where I felt kinda miserable.
Even though I felt like crap, I was determined not to hate myself and start entering that cycle where I beat myself up, both mentally & physically. At the same time though, I needed to regain focus and control. That's where Cheat Your Way Thin comes in.
Yes, it sounds like a total fad diet. Yes, the information page gives off kind of a cheesy, questionable vibe. Yes, it costs money and therefore poses a risk factor.
So why the hell did I pay for this program? Well, I had been signed up on Joel Marion's (the program's creator) mailing list for about a month or so already, so I had grown familiar with who he was and some of his general fitness/food tips. I think I originally came across him through another personal trainer blog I follow...
ANYWHO. In the newsletters, Joel spoke more and more about his program and I was intrigued. When I found out it cost money, I told myself "No way." I'm not sure what caused me to change my mind that Thanksgiving Day... Perhaps it was desperation... All I know is that the more I read and the more I heard about the program on other personal trainer blogs that I do indeed trust and respect, the more convinced I became. I made a few clicks, paid and downloaded the program materials.
Since I paid for this, I'm not going to go into every last little detail, but so far, I'm soooo pleased. The program is basically built around carb-cycling with a "cheat" day worked into every week. There are of course specific guidelines to keep you from screwing yourself over and making bad decisions (i.e., binging), but not so many that it's not feasible. And the big selling point for me was that Joel created a special Holiday calendar where he basically maps out your whole first month on the plan, starting with Thanksgiving, which is indeed the first "cheat" day. He works in the rest of the month's "cheat" days around other upcoming holidays and potential holiday parties and it's just awesome. Talk about a ton of pressure and anxiety being lifted from my chest almost instantly.
As I read through more of the program material, I discovered that YES!, there is indeed a maintenance phase. After I jumped into buying the program, I worried that maybe there wasn't a maintenance phase and that doing this program would defeat the purpose of making lifestyle changes for the past 2.5 years. But Joel did not disappoint; he breaks everything down to the point where it's basically fool-proof and sustainable for a long period of time (i.e., the rest of your life).
When I finished reading everything, I said to myself, "yes, I can do this." And it all makes sense, really. Perhaps I could have developed a similar approach on my own, but I simply hadn't read the right combination of research to figure it out. (And Joel does indeed do his research; a lot of the science-type stuff he writes about matches up with a lot of articles/books I've read about certain hormones, how they impact your weight and how they're impacted by certain combinations of food and exercise.)
Bottom line: I feel pretty damn great today. Still eating healthy and still tracking what I eat on the Daily Plate, but moving away from tracking Weight Watchers points on top of that. I'm slowly breaking away from OCD-like food tracking methods that were making me insane. This weekend I noticed, probably for the first time ever, that I am indeed capable of making good food choices on my own, without chanting in my head "I'm on Weight Watchers, I must watch my weight, I must stay in control, etc."
I'm not sure if that made sense, but essentially, it's the closest to weight-loss maintenance that I think I've ever been. I was eating for fuel, I was enjoying what I ate and I had subconsciously picked the right combination of foods to make sure it was all balanced and beneficial to my health. And I wasn't freaking out about points or calories the whole time. I wasn't freaking out about anything. I felt, dare I say it, normal.
Moving on- I'm down to 155.8 today, over two pounds less than I was pre-Thanksgiving. Between PMS bloat and binging bloat, I totally saw the 170s on Friday. Yes, I know I didn't actually gain that much in such a short period of time, but it feels soooo good to be back to my "happy" range.
I'm TOTALLY ranting here, I'm sorry. I just feel so much better and so much more optimistic than I have in a really long time. I don't want to be cheesy and say "And I owe it all to Cheat Your Way Thin!", but I'd be lying if I said it hasn't helped put a lot of things into perspective. Just goes to show you that it is possible to become burned out on a certain tried-and-trusted routine, and that it's ok to poke around and find something new to give you a boost and a better chance at success. I'm feeling empowered and much more sure of myself than I have in a long time. (And no, I didn't get paid or receive any free swag for plugging CYWT.)
I'm NOT saying "Oh go out and buy this program because it's only been a few days and I feel awesome and you will too!" Who knows what kind of results I'll have after the first month? (I'll update here, of course.)
I guess I just felt compelled to share my recovery plan and how good it feels to finally give myself credit for how strong I've become. The past few months have seen waaay too much self-hatred and guilt, so it's been awesome to have some moments of clarity the past few days. I will NOT regain 90+ pounds (in a week, in a month or ever) and I WILL live a happy, healthy and balanced life. No freaking out required.