Phase 2 has finally arrived! Know what that means? INDULGENCE DAYS.
Wait… what? What are those? To everyone else: cheat days. To me: indulgence days. There’s a psychological reason behind this: Calling it a cheat really triggers my Guilt Brain.
I haven’t had the greatest relationship with food: overindulging my sweet tooth, feeling terrible about eating half a pan of brownies (rightfully so, that’s so terrible for you), generally being gluttonous. When you’re in that cycle too long, sometimes, you start being an asshole your body. My preferred method: lavatory levitating. Wouldn’t recommend.
After a few years of that nonsense, I got really into fitness… In all of the wrong ways. I knew nothing about proper exercise, which is odd given that, growing up, I was actively involved in sports.
I never learned what does and doesn’t work for weight loss (and healthy maintenance), because, let’s face it: popular magazines offer tidbits of hardly flushed out “research” and “brand new methods designed to guarantee fat loss.” FYI: Any time you see the word guarantee, become the biggest skeptic.
There’s no guarantee; every body responds differently. Aside from “yo, don’t eat junk, and don’t sit all day, there’s no true blanket approach to the diet/exercise combo that will produce the same results for everyone. Regardless what you choose, you need a thorough strategy: proper nutrition, regular exercise, taking care of your head feels, and keeping your soft tissues in good shape (this last one is way overlooked, but doing so can prevent a lot of chronic pain. LOL NOTE TO SELF).
I believed slaving away over cardio would counterbalance my poor diet. It didn’t. Frustratingly, I gained more and more weight, despite adding more and more time on the bike/elliptical/treadmill/whatever. I pushed myself to the point of injury. When cardio didn’t work, I picked up weightlifting. For the first time, I was feeling better, and I was being educated on proper technique.
One thing led to another, my curiosity won out, and I started snooping around to learn things about the body on my own. Then I found Spartan Race, which ignited a passion to compete that I hadn’t felt since high school cross-country. In order to do well, I needed to learn A LOT.
Inevitably, my body started to break down. I sought out physical therapy and continued to train. I started taking nutrition seriously. I learned to listen to my body. I learned not to overtrain (disclaimer: I’m still working on this).
I had a decent first competitive season. Nothing remarkable. I realized my body wasn’t in the best shape (because LOL, overtraining). I’m back in physical therapy with someone I trust who utilizes ART. I’m forcing myself to slow down (hate). I’m not doing any Spartan stuff (double hate). I’m following a new program AND teaching myself how to: walk, sit, stand, lift, bike, and eventually when I’m strong and consistent, I’ll have to re-learn how to run (loathe entirely).
My entire left side is shot. I spent 3 years guarding that hip flexor, which meant actively disengaging my left glute, left abductor and adductor, my left obliques, and eventually, my left shoulder. I learned to walk on the outside of my left foot, how to disengage my big toe so as not to aggravate those constantly snagging muscles. And because the body is so neat, it rewired itself to reflect those changes. But now my good side is breaking down. I’m in constant pain, and running on one side of the body, especially for 13 miles in the mountains, is no longer feasible. So I have to unlearn what I’ve known and relearn what is normal and functional, which feels completely wrong.
In short: it sucks.
It’s frustrating to not “know” how to walk properly. Thinking hard about how to mechanically move your body the right way is exhausting. Some days it’s easy, some days, it’s like the signals don’t send at all. On worse days, the signals seem to get sent to the good side of my body, further aggravating the imbalance and eating away at my patience. It’s been grueling, maddening and more disheartening than anything else. But it must be done in order to be better.
So, body things aside, the nourishment is exciting. I’ll have a day a week to consume an excess of calories, although I’m mentally preparing and reminding myself not to binge. The goal is not to feel miserable; it’s to take a break from the rigors of restriction, though the last week of Phase 1 clearly served as an early break. Mostly, I’m just excited about spaghetti and meatballs. And maybe a brownie. Oh man, a brownie.