Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Perfectionism.

I have a confession to make.

Lately--and by lately, I mean the last six months or better--I haven't been practicing what I preach. I've fallen pretty far off the wagon in terms of exercise and eating right. In the past few months, I've even stay away from my yoga mat. I could give you a laundry list of excuses: stress, finishing up grad school, moving, traveling, figuring out what was going to happen with my long-distance relationship, etc. However, I think I may have stumbled upon the real reason (with some help from my very smart significant other): perfectionism.

I thought that if I didn't have an hour every day to spend in the gym and if every meal wasn't a salad, then I wouldn't bother doing anything. Yes, me. The one who lost a bunch of weight and went insane for yoga and had a love affair with spinning classes. That girl. I was totally focused on dieting and working out like crazy instead of focusing on being heathly and living an active lifestyle.

The truth is that at my lowest weight, I was obsessing over every 0.2 pounds, which, let's be honest, is the equivalent of about three sips of water. I was avoiding going out to dinner with friends so I could stay at home and eat low calorie frozen meals. I was working out for hours a day. I was eating low fat and no fat "food" that was low in points. I was berating myself any week that I didn't lose weight. So I stopped. I had enough of the head games and I stopped.

The problem is that I stopped completely. And it shows in many ways.

Last night I went to the gym. I stayed for 50 minutes--35 minutes of cardio and 15 minutes of strength training. I've been eating a fairly normal diet and trying to stay away from sugary foods. I want to ease back into an active, healthy lifestyle one step at a time. To be honest, some of those steps may include canceling my gym and Weight Watchers memberships. I am not sure where I stand on those at the moment. This may also include staying away from my scale for the time being.

I need to adopt these habits on my own without putting myself into a really bad place mentally. I feel grateful for being able to recognize both my own obsessive bad habits and also what caused them. It feels good to fess up to them too. Failure is feedback. It wasn't working for me, even if the scale was saying I was weighing less and less. I'll take healthy over skinny any day.


{Photo credit: D Sharon Pruitt}

4 comments:

Valerie at City|Life|Eats said...

Hey Lauren - good for you for being so honest with yourself, and thank you for sharing it with all of us. I have several friends who have had similar experience with Weight Watchers - ie it works for them for a while, but then they find themselves slaves to the points.

I have always been guilty of "if I can't spend a full hour or more at the gym, it's not worth going" mindset - I am slowly trying to break that, since with that mindset, I can manage to go months without a workout. Same issue with yoga though that was more "if i feel low-energy, there's no point in going to yoga, because I wont get enough out of it" - you get the idea.

Good for you for focusing on you :)

Marisa said...

I know what you mean...sometimes I feel like I've failed in my weight maintenance it I eat a cookie or God Forbid...a slice of pie and ice cream... But and occasional treat is not going to sabotage all the hard work I did to loose my weight...I want to be healthy AND happy!

Valerie at City|Life|Eats said...

PS I was contacted about discounts at Java Green and Cafe Green - I have not purchased the discount thing yet, but wanted to mention it to you :)

stephanie alaine said...

lauren: i share your sentiments about the struggle to find and maintain a healthy weight. i hear you, and acknowledge that a way out of no way will be made for you. and that way? it will fit your life perfectly, and it will fill you with energy & vitality that is only achieved when you find the balance. you're SO right, perfectionism is OVERrated, but its preached on every ad, every show, every magazine cover.

i admire so much about the way you live & learn; your dedication to being a blogger, an academic, a lovely girlfriend, a full-time worker, a sponge for inspiration and so on and so on. now you must find your way back to the mat, back to the space of integrity & self-respect that INVIGORATES you. that makes you come alive.

we don't come alive when we see numbers on a scale, do we? we come alive when we're present in what we are doing, being, becoming.

sending you support & love for this journey!
xo
Stephanie

p.s. RE: your summer reading list: Brene Brown's "ITIWJM" would be a GREAT place to start. it's inspiring and delightful.