Thursday, October 15, 2009

The 'F' Word

Are you a failure if you don't get up when your alarm goes off?

A few years ago I would have said yes. But no longer!

Thanks to the wise counsel of fellow weight-loss bloggers (and I dunno ... maybe my slowly advancing age) I've learned not to beat myself up over what I am not willing to do. There are many, many things I am willing to do to lose weight. Getting up early to work out is not one of them.

I used to torture myself over this.

The litany would start as soon as I woke up for real, usually about an hour after my alarm had gone off -- the alarm I had dutifully set the night before with intentions of getting in an early workout at the gym.

"Damn it, you screwed up again, you're so lazy, why can't you accomplish anything, what is wrong with you, why don't you have any discipline, why can't you get yourself together," and so on and so on.

The thoughts would continue, and grow, and echo louder and louder in my head. By the end of the day, I'd be swimming in my own negativity. Needless to say, that didn't help me control my eating any either.

Something that Cindy Sadler frequently blogs about is the importance of doing what works for you in weight loss and letting go of the things you feel you "should" do.

Over the long haul, you're most likely to be consistent if you adopt patterns and habits that you are willing to sustain -- not hating and resenting.

It took me a long time to get to that point.

But finally one day I said to myself, "I don't like getting up early in the morning to work out and I'm just not going to feel bad about it anymore!"

And I don't.

But there was a conflict -- I do like getting a morning workout. I just don't want to wake up for it. So I found a way to turn my commute to work into exercise. I walk or bike the three miles to my office. And since they have a gym there, it's easy to fit in some extra treadmill time if I get there early. Plus shower and change clothes and all that fun stuff.

Sometimes I do get up in the morning and get to the gym. And I always love it when I do. But not enough to make it a habit. It's a treat when I do get there, but I don't kill myself when I don't.

Yesterday, tho, I was in a real danger zone. I set the alarm to get up early, thinking that because it would be raining in the morning, I should definitely go to the gym since there would be no walk to work.

But of course I didn't get up. And then it was kind of drizzling. Not walking weather.

I almost didn't do my morning walk. But then I read how South Beach Steve got up at 4:30am (in my office we would call that 'four-freaking-thirty') and walked IN THE RAIN.

Well, that tore it. If he'd done his work out in rain, what was stopping me? Surely not a wee bit of wet weather?

I suited up and made it in to work. I can zip through those 3.5'ish miles a lot faster these days. It felt great and I was so happy I did it.

This is one of the real tricks to weight loss, I think: It's ok to give yourself a pass on the things that you know you can't sustain, or that set you on a path to negativity. But it is not ok --- not not not! --- to give yourself a pass on everything uncomfortable or challenging. You'll never get anywhere that way.

15 pounds by the end of 2009 -- that's my next goal. It feels nice to get a number in mind. I think I've been coasting a bit these past two months. Time to get serious again!


  1. So true! If you can't sustain it, making a goal or trying to start a habit just isn't worth it. Not only will you miss you goal, but also you'll lose momentum on other goals that you might actually be able to meet. So yeah, it's better to push yourself, but only in a way that you can sustain!

    And yeah, South Beach Steve sure is a motivator, huh?

  2. As I have said many times before, there is a fine line between motivated and crazy. Four thirty is awful early, but for me, it is the only time that works. I think you have come to a great realization, that you don't have to get up in the morning at 'Four freakin' thirty' to work out, but if that is the only time that works for you, you do. We gotta find what works for us, and do it, whatever that is. As you said, we can't avoid doing something just because it is uncomfortable though.

    BTW, I appreciate knowing that my walk motivated you. That, in turn, motivates me.