I came across a quote this week that has really stuck with me: Be stubborn about your goals and flexible about your methods. As of late, I have not been super flexible. Yes, I did give up the scale for 3 weeks and saw that I did not magically gain 10 lbs, and in fact, lost a little bit. But I keep doggedly running day after day, despite my lack of progress on the scale. Mainly, this is because I really love to run. And that's cool. I can still run. My problem is that I usually do nothing else. That has to change. I seem to have forgotten that it's not necessarily how long or for how many miles you work out, it's what you're doing to work out. Not exercising longer, but exercising smarter. I was about to wear out my body the way I just kept adding mile after mile to my running regimen. I lost a lot of weight last year when I combined running with the elliptical, and also did strength training at the gym. So I am giving that another try. I am also trying to eat more protein and less carbohydrates. Not really carb cycling per say, but more like being more mindful about the amount of protein and carbs, since that is not usually something I track.
I haven't been the gym since I think about October of last year. I've been running outside (or when the weather was too cold in the winter, riding my bike inside) exclusively. It felt strange yesterday to go back to a place that once felt like my second home. I devoted numerous blog posts to this place, such as Foam crowns, free weights, and a flasher: Alliteration at its very best, Sweat, decapitation, and Tigger: All in a day's work at the gym, and the ever popular Up in da gym, workin' on my fitness. It was odd at first because I had some feelings similar to those I had when I first went to the gym at over 300 lbs. Like are the employees going to recognize me (because I was seriously there every single day, usually twice a day) and judge me because I haven't been in so long? Are they going to assume I've fallen off the wagon and gained weight (even though I'm pretty much exactly the same weight as I was in October)? It didn't help that when I went in and gave them my member number, the girl gave me a weird look and was like, "We use barcodes now."
But then there were some very different feelings even from the last time I went to the gym, being at a relatively normal weight. Back then, I still felt like I didn't belong sometimes. I still felt like the fat girl. I didn't feel like that way today. Even being away for about 9 months, I felt like I belonged there. I felt normal. It was nice to see the old regulars there, even the odd ones like the guy who wears a helmet with a foam crown on his head. I even remembered that last summer I refused to wear tank tops and tight running pants to the gym. I opted for baggy shirts and yoga pants every day. I wore one of my running tank tops and pants today without a second thought. So I guess I have made some mental progress even since last October.
The elliptical kicked my butt. Anyone who thinks that the elliptical is just something you do if you can't hack the treadmill obviously has not been on the ellipical for any length of time. It just apparently works different muscles than running because I was soaked with sweat after an hour. I was glad to see that though. As far as strength training goes, the plan right now is for my boyfriend Brian to sign up at the gym tomorrow so we can start doing that together. Because while I may have pretty awesome self-motivation skills as far as cardio goes, I can't say the same for the strength training. I think being accountable to someone else will help that.
I'm pretty excited about these changes. They're not super big changes, but I have always believed that small changes are best because you can stick with them. Hopefully I will see some significant weight loss by the time I turn the big 31 in mid September.