Breaking Bad (Habits) Part 1

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Breaking Bad Food HabitsLike 90% of the world, Erika and Tracey have both made health and exercise related New Year Resolutions. While we are both doing pretty well, one of our favorite contributors, Andrea, is putting us to shame. This is serious stuff for anyone and for someone who loves her food as much as we do, this is downright inspiring.  

My name is Andrea and I am a carboholic. It’s ugly, but it’s the truth. For a long while I’ve been in denial about how my addiction to sugar and bread has been affecting me, but now I’ve been forced to deal with it head-on. It is time to start breaking bad food habits. Ok, so maybe it was my idea, but I’m totally facing it. And it’s hard.

As typical New Years Resolutions go, I had the super great idea to sign up for the weight loss challenge at my gym. The initial reason for signing up was that I’m a tad competitive and wanted a chance at winning some prizes. Also, I had no idea what was in store for me and thought it would involve limiting portions or whatever. Wrong. Majorly wrong.

Fast forward to my weigh-in.

Step 1 – Stand on the scale. Easy. Take off my shoes and every extra piece of clothing possible to decrease the number as much as possible.

Step 2 – Get measured. Also pretty easy and semi-painless. Since these are numbers I didn’t have to see, they didn’t bother me as much.

Step 3 – Out come the calipers. I hate these things. No one likes to be grabbed by their fat rolls, let alone have those rolls measured with…. Pinchers.

*At this point, I feel like I’ve got it made. I can totally win this thing.*

Step 4 – Sit down to discuss a meal plan. Turns out that these meal plans are configured for you by a computer based on your measurements and percentages. It becomes obvious very quickly that computers have never eaten a bite of this food in their lives – all the foods listed are bland, flavorless, and contain zero ounces of pleasure.

Step 5 – Haggle relentlessly over substitutions and more exciting options with the trainer (or, rather, the computer).

The main idea is that the first two weeks are the clean-eating cleanse phase (breaking bad food habits) and then we follow that with a diet plan that is more diverse for the next six weeks. I will admit that at this point I still felt pretty cocky about the whole thing. That is, until I realized what was missing. Sugar. Bread. Diet Coke. Items that were essentially the lifeblood of everything good and happy in my life. I was scared and I panicked. I went on a minor food binge for the rest of the day in preparation for what was to come the next morning. I ate all my favorites… sugary cereals, tacos, donuts, gyros, and ice cream (not in that order). Obviously, not the best approach, but I ended the day semi-disgusted with myself and ready to go sugar-free.

Here are some general feelings that I have experience while going through this process…

Day 1. Dude! I feel great! This is going to be a breeze! The food isn’t that bad and I’m not even hungry. I thought the whole concept of losing weight meant starving yourself but I can totally handle this! Seriously rocking the workouts and the food prep.

Day 2. Still going strong. I am going to kick this challenge in the butt! The workout was good and my energy levels are still high. By the end of the day though, I really do start to miss dessert… and Diet Coke.

Day 3. What the crap happened to me? I feel terrible. Seriously, seriously terrible. I have no purpose anymore. There is no meaning in life without chocolate. And I can’t even tell you what I would do for a huge, buttery homemade dinner roll right now. Diet Coke would totally make me feel better… but blast, I cannot have it. Skipping the workout today because of the general lack of will to exist.

Today is Day 4. I guess I feel better. I suppose I’ll drag myself through the motions today. The workouts are supposed to boost my energy so I guess I’ll go. Dang, that was the hardest workout of my life. I feel like I’m exercising in a pool of Jell-O. Now I’m generally exhausted and slightly depressed. Even the 2.5 lbs I have lost so far don’t do much to cheer me up.

Mostly, I have spent a lot of time daydreaming about cheat day (Sunday). I already know exactly how I want to cheat and what I will savor the most. They are big plans: I will add dark chocolate to my boring daily snacks of nuts and berries, I will have a thin crust veggie pizza with no tomato sauce for lunch, and I will enjoy some rolls with my dinner. Most importantly, though, is the addition of Diet Coke back in my life (even though it is only for a day). It may not sound wild and crazy, but I do want to have a chance at winning this thing so I’m mostly taking it easy on the carb-loading. That, and I don’t want to make myself totally sick by overloading my system with stuff that I’ve been depriving it of for 6 days.

I can’t say I feel any better yet. My trainer admitted today that he was pretty worried about how I would fare without sugar. And so far I would have to say that I’m not faring well.

Stay tuned for Part 2…

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