Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Honesty Hour: Taking a Step Back

The past week I took a step back from everything and just re-evaluated everything going on in my life. My relationships, my fitness, my passions, my future, but mainly my priorities. I always want to be totally honest on here and if you've been following this blog for awhile then you know that under no circumstances do I ever have it totally together. Nor have I ever wanted to portray that image so I decided it was time for another honesty hour post! 

As you all know, I follow macros. It's come to the time near the end of my reverse diet, though, that I'm just getting a little tired of tracking. It has nothing to do with IIFYM and I'm so grateful for the freedom and balance it has given me. It's more to do with the fact that I realized I have been tracking what I eat for about 4 years now, both healthily and unhealthily. 

So I'm pretty much at the point where I'm just done with tracking all together. I don't want to have to worry about putting food in my mouth and thinking to myself "does it fit my macros? what adjustments am I going to have to make?". 

I want to begin challenging myself to eat intuitively, and to get back to my natural roots of just listening to my body. I have gotten to a place of peace with food and a balance that I don't think I had even before I started tracking four years ago. But the thing is, I want to check that tracking hasn't given me an artificial sense of balance. That's not a negative thing, and all I mean is that I've finally found my balance with food but it's within the confines of a set of numbers. I will always be able to keep my balance if I know it's within my macros but what about outside those numbers?

I want to take that peace and balance with food and apply it in real-life. No tracking, no apps, no second thoughts about macros. This is the next phase that naturally follows finding a balance through tracking macros. I think that macros are wonderful for giving people a sense of what nutrition their body needs and a great way to educate themselves about portion sizes, macro ratios, and how to properly fuel their bodies. The thing is that we will eventually outgrow that. The counting, measuring, tracking, etc. It's just not something you can do long-term for 40+ years. 

In no way am I saying that macros are not a good idea but at the end of the day, I don't want to rely on them forever. That's what I mean by an artificial sense of balance. My macros helped me find peace with food, but one day I need to learn how to keep it all on my own. 

I thought that day was a lot farther off but for right now, I feel like the best thing for me is to start decreasing my tracking little by little. Like the past week, I did not want to track at all so I didn't. I have no intentions of tracking tomorrow, either, and you know what? I'm fine with that. I don't have any guilt or anxiety over it. 

I don't want to become obsessed with the numbers again, and I just want to do what's best for myself both mentally and physically. Now, this is NOT a free-for-all where I'm just going to go crazy and eat whatever I feel like. It's supposed to be practice for intuitive eating and to do the whole 80/20 thing but just without tracking. 

I still plan on weighing and measuring because I don't want to lose sight of portion sizes. I think that's something important to keep in mind even if I'm not specifically tracking. The only thing is I'm not going to track it, check macros, or worry about switching things out. 

I'm also going to make sure that I don't deprive myself of something that I might be craving. If I want something different than what I have packed, I'll switch it out. Such as coworkers bringing in treats which happens a lot at my office! No complaints though :) I think it's important to indulge your cravings every so often even when there might be a better option. I'm human, and it happens to everyone. This is the type of freedom that I want. Switching out an apple for half a bagel isn't going to happen every day, and there will be some days where I'll probably say no in favor of a better option. I also probably wouldn't do it if I know I'll get to have something even better later on. You bet I won't pick the bagel if I know froyo was on the table!

I'm also applying this philosophy to my workout schedule as well. I am the biggest creature of habit, and for so long I was just stuck in my workout schedule. The same thing over and over again. Sure, the workouts were a bit different but the days were the same (i.e. Monday is quads, Tuesday is shoulders/run, etc.). Lately, I've felt as though I really miss running. With the winter weather and having to move my runs around or cut them out that I've ended up putting lifting above running for the sheer convenience of being able to do it indoors. I love lifting I really do but I would be lying outright if I said that running did not make me happier. 

So for the past week I've just been doing my own thing when working out. I didn't feel like doing anything on Saturday and was tired so I took the morning off. Something that usually would have caused me physical pain because I look forward to my long run all week. I absolutely hate it if I'm unable to get to it because of a schedule conflict. Except this past Saturday I wasn't really feeling it and just wanted a relaxing morning enjoying my coffee and watching some Food Network. So that's exactly what I did and I have no regrets! I feel nice and refreshed and ready to tackle this week of running!

Which all of this just leads me to my ultimate point: do what you love. I am a runner to my core and there's no point whatsoever pretending otherwise. Lately I've been putting other workouts above my running, and I noticed how that affected me. So this past week I cleared all of my other workouts and just ran. In fact, I didn't even follow a route. I literally just went out the door and ran wherever I felt like it. I kept track of the time so I had a general idea of the mileage but this past week was about just the feeling of running. I ran because it's what I love to do. It wasn't for a workout, or that I felt as though I had to with my marathon training, but was simply for the sake of enjoying the run. Without any of that pressure, it felt like I was falling in love with running all over again. 

This whole past week I didn't track anything, ran when I felt like it, did other workouts when I felt like it, and the freedom has been amazing. I really felt like God was tugging at my heart and warning me that sometimes I make my nutrition and fitness an idol. Meaning when it comes down to it, I often worry more about making time to go for a run than making the time to read a devotion, pray, or just spend time with God. I cringe when I think about it because I know that it's happened before, and by no means am I proud of that. It's something that I'm definitely working on because I don't want my fitness or nutrition to get in the way. 

I feel like I need to be more present in the moment with people in my life, my job, and my relationship with God. And if that means no longer tracking or strictly following a workout schedule then so be it. I want my running and nutrition to be a part of my life, I don't want it to be my entire life. When God made me, he knew he gave me a passion for running but that doesn't mean it's what I was created for. So, yes I do love running but it's not what defines me. 

If I'm being completely honest, this "break" from tracking and workout schedules is more permanent than I originally intended. I mean it's been a week already which is longer than I thought I would have wanted but I have no desire to get back to my old routine. Usually by this point, I'd be itching to get back to a set structure but I'm completely happy just hanging out at this new phase at the moment! So that's exactly what I'm going to do! 

I'll just take it one day at a time, and see where God leads me! 

I found this quote and it really spoke to me so I just thought I'd share :) This has definitely become my new motto for the whole process! In fact, it's been set as my lock screen! 

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