Or should I say, at the start of month four? Since September, I gave up on counting calories. I know it works, and works damn well, but after nearly three years of it, I was seriously burnt out. I also think I was heading on a path towards disordered eating, if I wasn’t already well down that road.
Now, I wouldn’t say it was an eating disorder, not in the technical sense, where my physical health would be damaged by how I was eating. I was eating quite well. A good amount of calories and very balanced nutritionally. But psychologically, I was going a bit nuts. I was over-tracking. I was counting my calories and my macros. Logging my exercise on My Fitness Pal and Fitocracy. Tracking my miles on Runkeeper and on a monthly miles challenge online. Tracking the weight I was lifting on a separate spreadsheet. Weighing myself daily, taking measurements weekly, and taking progress photos every few weeks. And all that was fine when I was seeing progress regularly… when I had a decent amount of weight to lose, when I was training for a race, when I was just starting a lifting routine.
But after a while, progress slowed. I wasn’t getting any faster. I wasn’t really getting much stronger. My body wasn’t changing in any discernable way. It all seemed pointless.
And now, three months after getting off the hamster wheel, I realize… it really was all pointless.
Eating right and exercising is good. No doubt about it. But obsessing about it is not good. And that’s what I was doing. Now, if I were a personal trainer or a fitness model, that would be a different story. But I’m not. I’m a web publisher and artist and housewife. “Visible abs” are nowhere in the job descriptions for those positions.
At the beginning of September, I started to back off from all the craziness. I weighed 140.8 lbs. The last time I weighed myself, a few days ago, I was 140.4 lbs. And I’ve been very relaxed on eating, and probably a little too relaxed on exercise, especially since I wrenched my back in a freak stencilling accident. But I’ve been enjoying myself. I’ve been painting and crafting and costuming, selling things in my Etsy shop, working on updating my websites and even reopening my dating advice community. I’ve been… feeling like me again.
The weird thing is… yes, I’d like to maybe drop another 5-10 pounds, but even when I was at my leanest, I felt the same way. I felt like there was more I could do to improve. I’m never going to be completely 100% satisfied with my body. Maybe it’s the gen-x slacker in me, but if I’m always going to be discontent, I’d rather be discontent and relaxed about it, than discontent, stressed and working my ass off.