A New Journey

Around June of last year I rebranded my blog “Healthy Rewrite” because I wanted to explore the concept of how the average person’s struggle to become healthy was similar to that of the epic hero’s journey in a story. That was after about a year of success in getting healthy myself.

As often happens in situations like that, shortly after I rebranded I started to fall off on posting. Now, this year, I’ve fallen off the healthy habits I worked so hard to build. As I sit back and think through what happened I know that part of my recent drop off is due to very real obstacles that have risen up against me this year. But a very large part of it is that I also stopped holding myself accountable through this blog.

So, I’m back. And I’m back for good. Because I need the accountability and because blogging about it helps me maintain that while also supporting others through the same struggles.

So how does all this relate to my own Healthy Hero’s Journey? Well, for the sake of really re-engaging in this blog, let’s refresh. The Healthy Hero’s Journey is made up of very distinct parts:

  • The Call to Adventure. That moment where you realize your journey is no longer an option but has become an action necessary for your own life and happiness.
  • Discovery of Resources. Taking inventory of the resources that will help you on the road to success. This step may also involve the search for new tools and resources.
  • Trial & Error. Putting those resources to work for you until you find the magic formula that meets your individual needs.
  • Reaching the Reward. The final, beautiful step, where you actually reach your goals. This is your moment of triumph!

Many of us, including myself, start the cycle of this journey over and over in our lives without ever Reaching the Reward. Or, in just as many cases, we actually to reach the final level and then fall off entirely and have to start over.

I can be honest and say that I never reached my reward. I got very close to it and had a lot of success but I never reached my primary weight loss objectives. I would have been happy to linger in the Trial & Error part of my story for a while longer but, alas, I have fallen all the way back to the Call to Adventure step.

Why is that? Because I came across an obstacle this last year, while in the Trial & Error part of my journey, which proved to be too big. It beat me down and I’m still struggling to overcome it. What was it?

A pelvic stress fracture.

Of all the injuries I thought I’d face as a runner that was the least of my worries. And let me tell you, you don’t realize how much all of your bones and muscles work together until the biggest bone right in the middle of your body suddenly has a giant (“rather nasty” as my doctor’s called it) crack in it.

I spent 11 weeks on crutches and in a wheelchair. Now I’ve gone through 8 weeks of physical therapy and the orthopedist is telling me I still need to wait 3 more months before I start running. Prior to this injury I was running 2-3 half marathons per year and had just signed up for my first full marathon so another 3 months of no running feels like pure torture. But I guess I can see their point since I haven’t been able to work up to more than 15 minutes of interval speed walking on a treadmill.

More important than all that is the impact this stress fracture has had on my healthy habits. In the last 5 months, I’ve:

  • Gone back to stress eating
  • Gotten in way less activity (obviously)
  • Fallen off of eating my fruits and veggies
  • Stopped tracking my caloric intake
  • Stopped watching my portions
  • Gone back to eating whatever “sounds good”

As a result, I’ve noticed many of my clothes fitting tighter and I’ve gained back 12 of the total 34 pounds I’d previously lost. Not a place I thought I’d be again.

Looking back now, I think a lot of this has happened because I kept seeing each piece of my injury as being a small portion of time. It was okay to eat differently because I just needed to get through the non-bearing piece of my recovery. After that, I’d be back to running in no time. After I got released to start walking again than it was just that I needed to get through my physical therapy (because it was only supposed to last 8 weeks and then I’d be “back to normal”). Now that the 8 weeks has ended and it looks like normal still isn’t going to happen any time soon, I’m waking up to reality.

A New Journey

The reality is that I need to follow the Healthy Hero’s Journey I started talking about more than a year ago. I need to accept this new Call to Adventure, take the time to Discover New Resources, and work through an all new type of Trial & Error before I’m going to Reach my Reward.

This post is my commitment to this new journey. I hope you’ll come along with me as I start to explore the facets of this adventure from a whole new angle. I look forward to sharing my story!

 

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“Fighting” the Temptation of Unhealthy Food

Yesterday was a rough day all around and, as a result, I found myself in a rather difficult spot. After a few weeks of eating healthy all I wanted was something BAD to eat! Someone brought donuts in to work so suddenly they were all I could think of. I saw the cookies in our vending machine and they seemed pivotal to improving my day. Eating unhealthily seemed to be the only way to get out of my funk and I couldn’t convince myself otherwise.

Unhealthy food, fighting temptation, sugary foods

Anyone who has ever struggled to lose weight has had this day (or a million of them) so I’m sure you understand exactly what I mean. The good news is that I came out of the day better than I thought I would. The bad news is I still could have handled the day better. I think it’s worth it to explore both of these ideas in the pursuit of breaking unhealthy habits.

What Worked Well

  • Food planning. I’ve stock-piled my office with healthy snacks and I’ve been doing bringing in healthy lunches. Because of that, I was setup to fight temptation.
  • Budgeting. I have options to buy unhealthy food at work. However, I’ve also put myself on a strict budget as my husband and I save for a house. That budget made it easier to resist giving in to that unhealthy food at work.
  • Intentional Thought. In the past I’ve often found myself eating unhealthily before I’ve even realized what I’m doing. But my food planning and budgeting bought me the time throughout the day to think about the temptations I faced to actively decide what I wanted to do.
  • Giving In. I know that giving in to temptation doesn’t sound like a good thing but I think it’s necessary every now and then. I had been eating healthy for about 3 weeks so I decided one splurge wasn’t that bad – especially if it was done thoughtfully and on my own terms.

What Didn’t Work

  • Portion Control. Overeating foods that I love is one of my biggest challenges. So when I did consciously give in, I accidentally over-ate that meal.
  • Excuses. This particular day, my Fitbit battery died and I didn’t have a charger with me. Therefore, I rationalized that it was fine for me to “cheat” because I wouldn’t have accurate tracking of my calories anyway. This happened to line up with my overeating.
  • Low Activity. I try to always maintain my calorie deficit no matter what I’ve eaten for the day. But again, no tracker no activity, so I know I didn’t workout or move as much as I should have.

What I Will Do In The Future

The only way to avoid the same mistakes is to have a plan in place the next time it happens – because I know it will! So here are my thoughts:

  • Fork Down. I’ve read before that if you put your fork down between bites it helps you eat slower and realize how full you’re getting. It’s worked before but I don’t use this method as much as I should.
  • Pre-Planned Portion Control. If I had cut my meal in half and put away that portion the extra food would have been out of sight, out of mind. Again, I know this works but I didn’t use it.
  • Pre-Tracking. I’m tracking my food/calories and I love tracking food before I’ve eaten it so I know how much I can have. My Fitbit died near the end of the day so I probably could have gotten a fairly accurate count still if I had tracked my food beforehand.

No excuses, mindful eating,

See, it all comes down to excuses. Every method above is something I’ve successfully used. The only step I could add is Mindfulness. Getting healthy only works when you’re mindful of everything you’re doing. It’s not easy but every day I practice it. One day, I intend for it to be second nature!