[Warning: I’m going to talk about poop in this post.]

The plan is the plan and the execution is where the sneakers hit the trail, so to speak. I’ve got a loose plan:

  • eat whole foods and veggies (take a multi-vitamin/mineral supplement)
  • kill all conscious sugar consumption
  • avoid packaged foods (even my favorite snack the Triscuit)
  • exercise regularly
  • don’t freak out or drop out
  • keep going

And a lot of my experience with this tactic is fall off. I get going, I have some good results and then I get less focused. I slack off, go on a few dates as a fitter me, and then I’m back to my old habits again. Triscuits and cheese at night are NEVER a good idea. They sounds perfect, but I think that juicy Honeycrisp is a better plan.

Sometimes you have to punt and give yourself props for recommitting to the program, again and again.

So how do I continue to rejoin the plan, even after a setback, or a wild weekend of tex-mex and beer? Um, it’s simple. You just start again. Pickup where you left off. And most importantly, don’t hammer yourself for your indulgence, rather give yourself kudos for rejoining and recommitting to the plan above.

Something(s) in my past has *always* set me off the program. I’m not sure what my history shows, but I know that last night I hit a few bumps that I’d like to explore for a minute.

Bump 1: What’s for dinner? I was working on a different writing project and very focused on what I was doing. I had gone past hungry to famished and I knew I was at risk as I entered the kitchen in search of sustenance. What I didn’t have in my cupboard were any of my healthy nuts that would give me an immediate salt hit and a positive signal to my brain and now-dropping blood sugar, that resources were coming. I needed my nuts.

In the refrigerator I found the pizza from Friday night. Not too unhealthy in general, but not really "whole" either. I passed over this and kept looking. I had eggs, maybe a couple fried eggs for dinner. Except that’s what I’d eaten for breakfast, so I was a bit bored. And… That was about it. My ideas were limited by things on hand and things that were easy, quick, and sure to quell my grumbling tummy.

I picked two slices of the everything cold pizza. DAMN. Not to plan. But I was not stocked up. I’d already had my super apple a few hours before, when I was first getting a bit hungry, but still writing hard on my project. So I had nothing. And since I had waited I didn’t really want to travel down to Whole Foods to get something raw. I punted. The pizza was delicious, btw.

Bump #2: After eating the pizza and drinking some water I was certain I was bloated. I felt a bit disappointed, but I leapt right over that idea and moved on into my next activity. Except I wasn’t very engaged. I was still hungry. Hmm.

And in my malaise, and bloated moment, I stepped on the scale. Woops! What I knew but didn’t quite register accurately was that I was constipated. I hadn’t had a great bm that morning. AND I missed my walk due to the inspiring writing project and the heat of the afternoon. And when I stepped on the scale I confirmed my fears, I was bloated and had regained a good portion of "my week one loss." But I was missing the point. And the read was inaccurate because of my constipation.  But there it was, a failure. I ate pizza, I felt awful, and SURE ENOUGH, the scales confirmed my misery.

And even though I was conscious of my extra internal baggage, I let the message sink in a bit too far. I had dropped off the program AGAIN.

When you wait too long for dinner your body is in a critical state and you make poorer choices.

Return: This morning, in my normal routine, I had an early bm, larger than usual, to clear a bit of my constipation. And 15 minutes later a second bm that  had more of the back up. I laughed at myself. "Of course you were constipated. That’s what that bloated feeling in your solar plexus often is. Not fat, but constipation. Old stuff."

And sure enough, as I stepped on the scale this morning to confirm my previous mistake, I was back to within a pound of my "loss" weight.

Reset: Okay, so what do I take away from this?

  1. Have good things to eat in the house and ready
  2. When you wait too long for dinner your body is in a critical state and you make poorer choices
  3. Bloating can be pizza (wheat, cheese, etc) but it can also be constipation
  4. The scale is a friend and should be used at regular times, to mark progress, not as a temporary check-in
  5. I gave myself permission to fail without much self-flagellation
  6. I returned to the program this morning and got some confirming feedback from my body and my scale

Back to the day at hand. I’ve had a small bowl of unsweetened low-fat granola and I’m planning on playing tennis at the noon workout. I need to eat more now, so I am ready to go in an hour and not pressed to find fuel.

Sometimes a little planning ahead can provide much better options. And sometimes you have to punt and give yourself props for recommitting to the program, again and again.

Take the next step,

John McElhenney


image: this morning, myself again, john mcelhenney, cc 2014

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