I’ve had a couple of really interesting weeks and as a result some old eating patterns reemerged that I’d like to share with you, because I know I’m not the only one who has seen old, familiar eating patterns rear their unsightly head long after you think they’re over and done with.
For those of you who’ve been reading my love letters to you, you know that I’ve been working hard to stay in the exercise groove. And so far, I’m happy to report that I’ve been on track about 80% of the time. This means that I’m lifting weights 3x per week and doing some gentle, cortisol-lowering activity 1-2 additional days per week (yoga, walking, or long, slow rides on my spin bike). I’m working to lift 4x per week, but that hasn’t happened yet.
I make sure I schedule my workouts for the week about a week in advance, and stick to them, no matter what. For me, this is HUGE 😉
So here I am, in a great space and on track, and I think to myself, “Now seems like a good time to tweak my diet a bit so I can really start seeing results and getting leaner.” My first assignment to myself was to keep a food log. Here’s what I wrote down for the first 2 days:
- B: protein shake: 1 scoop pea protein, 1 cup blueberries, 2 cups spinach, water, plus an earl grey tea
- workout: weights 60 mins
- S: 1/2 c steel-cut oats w raisins, 1 scoop Peatein in coconut milk
- L: Arctic char, winter squash, green beans
- S: apple, 1/4 cup pistachios
- D: lamb stew, mashed potatoes, bok choy
- S: 1/2 cup dry rice chex
- B: protein shake and an earl grey tea
- workout: 60 mins on bike
- S: 1/2 cup steel cut oats w banana, 2 slices turkey bacon
- L: lamb stew, 2 tbsp mashed potatoes, bok choy
- S: mint tea & nothin’ but bar: 20g carb, 3g fiber, 9g sugar, 4g protein, 170 cal
- D: chicken breast, steamed broccoli
- S: 1 tbsp peanut butter
In other words, nothing too crazy there, right? My portions work out to 4-5 ounces of protein plus veggies at every meal and I feel good with balanced energy throughout the day.
But then, the weekend hit. Friday night we went to a friend’s house for homemade pizza plus 2 glasses of wine and an apple crisp. Saturday night I had dinner out with my hubs and I had a martini, spring rolls, and mahi mahi tacos. And then some chocolate while watching a movie afterwards. And I just couldn’t bring myself to write any of it down in my food log.
And while I didn’t exactly feel guilty about any of it, my eating was tinged with a sense of rebellion and those old, familiar, cloudy feelings of anxiety-fueled deprivation blew in and started hanging around. Which really caught me by surprise, because I haven’t been in that space for ages. So what gives?
It took me a couple of days to figure things out, and then it dawned on me that I was probably going through some PTSD. First off, I’m just getting my health groove back after many years of sleep deprivation, high cortisol, EBV, and digestive woes. I forget just how far my body and I have come.
Second, I was on a super restricted diet for the past year. The first six months all I could eat was cooked vegetables, fresh fruits, avocados and nuts, coconut oil, and root vegetables. No booze, no dairy, no meats, no grains, no legumes, and very little sweets. I was in detox mode.
The second half of the year, I was able to add in some wild Alaskan salmon and very small amounts of grass-fed meats. Still zero grains. I began to cheat here and there with bacon, white rice, and a glass of wine now and then–none of which made me feel very good and often gave me heartburn.
Now that I’m past my year mark, I can finally add in more proteins–but I can’t overdo it by any means or my sleep suffers. I have played with introducing steel-cut oats, pea proteins, and eggs 1-2x per week just to get some variety and balance back in my life. And I’m back to 2 cocktails on average each week, which don’t do me any favors per se, but they do bring me great happiness 😉
So I think what’s really been happening is that I’m just in the done place when it comes to deprivation. I’ve always been the Queen of Balance, and both my mind and body are telling me it’s time to play after a long year of healing work. So I’m cutting myself a break for now, until I’m ready to try again–whenever that may be.
I can’t help but notice that the times I think, “My exercise is consistent so I can have some indulgences on a weekend and not sweat it.” It’s a total red flag to me that I’m not ready to go to a place where I’m feeling deprived. Even though the reality is such that consistent exercise + weekly indulgences doesn’t always equal change in my body. So if I want to lean out, then I have to learn to embrace the change and take ownership of my choices and my body.
And that, my dears, is where the sweet spot lies in all of us. And it’s something I’m forever working towards.
I do believe I will master it, because the reality is I’m not terribly far off where I’m at right now. And I feel very good about that.
But for now, I let all of this be a lesson to me. There’s only so much my mind is ready to take on and change right now. I pushed the boundaries and challenged myself, and it bit me in the ass a little bit. My old patterns of rebellion resurfaced right away. So for this week, it’s back to the weights and a clean diet, getting enough protein, sleep, and hydration, and giving myself the space to love where I’m at.