I said something to a friend this week, and after I said it I felt like it struck a chord as being at the heart of my weight loss struggle. And I have been reflecting on it since then and decided that maybe it was something others could relate to while they are on their own journey (whether it’s weight loss related or not!). *I will warn you that this post is not really going to answer the questions I pose today – just expand on what they mean to me. But it may give you something to think about, too.
“Sometimes I feel caught between too little structure and not enough – and I just can’t seem to find the balance between the two.”
Simple enough, right? Nothing monumental, but I think sometimes the hard part of figuring out what our road blocks are is just boiling it down to something specific. So now I’m pondering the obvious questions:
1) What is too much structure?
2) What is too little structure?
I find that I am much more effective with my weight loss when I have extreme structure – but that can only co-exist with my REAL life for so long. Eventually, I can’t sustain the high level of structure and everything crumbles to the ground. I would say that is pretty common for most people. That’s why we have a society of get rich quick schemes and lose weight in 10 day programs that really don’t work in the long term. I’m not looking for short term success. I don’t want to lose all the weight only to gain it back – that’s just not good enough for me.
So what is too little structure for me? A few examples would be: when i don’t force myself to journal my meals and when I don’t have a work out scheduled. So even though I prefer to not plan every little detail out – it helps when I do. But when I let myself slide and I don’t record my meals and i don’t pre-plan my workouts – I just tend to do nothing productive at all and that is also not good enough for me.
So where is the middle ground on this? How do I make healthy choices a NATURAL choice for myself and not something that feels like a rigid, structured program? I honestly don’t really want to have to write down everything I eat for the rest of my life – so does that mean I won’t ever meet my goal? Or do I just need to be journaling my food during the weight loss journey and know that it’s not a forever thing because I will use the journey to integrate healthier decisions into my meals?
Perhaps I could deal with a more rigid structure of documenting everything if i knew it wasn’t going to be a forever thing. Is that an example of healthy balance and compromise?
I also deal with the struggle between doing AWESOME during the work week and doing the OPPOSITE of awesome during the weekend. Anyone else have this problem? Talk about self-sabotage. What good is working out 4 times a week and eating healthy meals and snacks if on the weekend I act like i don’t care. But in reality – i DO care. Desperately. It’s like someone takes over my body on the weekends and then I’m left with the unfortunate results come Monday morning. I’m struggling to find the balance between the two versions of myself when it comes to losing weight.
Meet Monday-Friday Dre:
Dre works a typical 8-5 type of job. She brings a healthy breakfast every morning, takes her multivitamin along with drinking her first 32oz nalgene bottle of water before lunch time. She typically has no more than 1 coffee with fat free or sugar free creamer in it. During the day, she continues to refill her water bottle at least 2 times. For a mid morning snack, dre might have a Shakeology shake to get in some extra protein, healthy dairy or a granola bar. For lunch, she always brings her lunch with her to work as her and her husband prepare healthy meals selected from cooking magazines such as Cooking Light or Eating Well. She drinks water with her lunch. In the afternoon, she may have another small snack as directed by her nutritionist to keep the metabolism firing. This would consist of something like carrots and hummus, reduced fat triscuits or string cheese or a combination of these things. Dre also tries to drink 8oz of 100% fruit juice during the day since she doesn’t eat fruit. Sometimes this is a chore, but she does it anyway. After a day in the office, Dre goes to the gym to work out for an hour. She participates in group exercise classes such as TurboKick, Circuit workouts and even teaches one of these classes once per week. After working out, Dre goes home to throw the frisbee with her puppies and her and her husband sit down to eat dinner together. Again – this is a pre-selected meal from one of the healthy magazines that represents a variety of food groups. She usually drinks water with her meal. For the occasional nites where a snack might occur before bed – homemade popcorn with I can’t believe it’s not butter spray is used, or maybe a skinny cow ice cream sandwich. Repeat.
Meet Weekend Dre:
Sleep in until 10am or so on Saturday – play with the pups and make breakfast for myself. This is scattered and sometimes it’s a granola bar, or eggs. Nothing big. Clean the house, pay some bills, meet with the dog trainer. Usually I will eat a left over lunch from our week of meals. Sometimes there is no food in the house so I will have to make an effort to leave the house to go get something. I try to be good here and do a grilled chicken sandwich or something (no fries). I might treat myself to a diet soda. Fast forward to evening – going out to eat with friends, probably some wine and beer. Apps are ordered, I find myself indulging. Sunday morning: wake up feeling groggy so hubby and I go get breakfast at a local spot. Go grocery shopping, play with the pups, house project….probably some wine or beer drinking happening while at the house. Dinner is sometimes out, sometimes with friends. Not controlled.
As i’m writing out typical behaviors on the week day vs the weekend – it’s easy to see some crucial differences (I thought it would be funny but actually it turned out to be helpful to do this instead of funny because my life really isn’t that interesting). Mainly – having wine and/or beer and eating out more than once. Being in a situation where I’m not on a schedule allows me to make some bad choices I wouldn’t normally make. So where is the balance between too much of a scheduled weekend, and not enough?
I guess there aren’t real answers here – only more questions. But it all comes back to finding the balance between too much structure and too little. Maybe if i can figure out where that is – I’ll be able to start moving forward. Just feeling a little caught in the middle at the moment. You know?