Thursday, November 1, 2012

Transformation Step Five: Manage Mistakes

In the last four years, I've committed to and completed four different 12 week fitness challenges.  Three of them were Turbulence Training Transformation Contests, and the other was a 12 week Venus Index program.  In all four instances the results were gratifying.  I released fat, built muscle, and I learned new fitness skills.  It's no surprise that it takes commitment and perseverance to succeed at a 12 week challenge.  What is surprising is how many mistakes I made along the way.

I don't know if it was the result of writing a blog post with the word "Perfect" in the title last time, but on Tuesday all kinds of thoughts and situations came up to test my commitment to self acceptance.  For example, I got an overwhelming craving for Halloween candy right at the end of my daily meditation.  You may remember from my post on cravings and dopamine that mediation has been shown in clinical studies to strengthen areas of the brain that handle self control and executive function.  I started meditating regularly in 2008, and I do feel it's been instrumental for maintaining my fat loss, so I was shocked when this craving hit me right at 3PM, as I quietly breathed and allowed thoughts of wholeness drift through my mind.

I just have to ask again, what is it with the three o' clock hour that crumbles my resolve?  Trust me, I will be tackling what happens at the "witching hour" in another post.  What I want to address right now what happened Tuesday, and what we can learn from it.

The craving was powerful, there was a cauldron of candy on the table in the front hall, and I ate six pieces.  Now, these were "Fun Size," but they weren't that tiny fun size.  There were three varieties, and I had to have one of each, followed by a second of each to test whether they really tasted that good.  Then I had some ice cream and a piece of toast, because, what the heck- what further harm could it do?

The result?  Yesterday I woke up with swollen hands, an aching head, and a bruised conscience.  Now, this is hardly the first time this has happened.  During Turbulence Training Transformation Contest #2, my first, I started the challenge on May 10th.  My husband's birthday was May 31st, and after his party we had this huge chocolate cake right on the kitchen counter under a beautiful glass cover that had been a wedding gift from our friend Rebecca.  For three days in a row, I snarfed big pieces of that cake when no-one was looking.  Three weeks into the contest I was risking giving all my progress back in three days.

Did I quit?  No way.  I had established a pattern of training already, and it was going to the gym and doing my training that kept me from going off the rails.  Here's how I soothed my troubled mind over all that cake.  I told myself that as long as I continued to train, at least all that sugar was going toward building new muscle.  Cake is hardly ideal nutrition for muscle hypertrophy, but positive thinking about that cake helped me get back to the gym- in spite of my three day cake belly.

In order to complete this 12 week journey, we have to establish goals and positive behaviors that cover more than eating.  That way if we run into a snag on the food front, we can still move forward with our training, positive thinking, and accountability.  Authentic bodies are not built on food alone, so it's essential to keep adding to the entire structure of change so that we don't fall down for too long if we give in to a craving.

Here's some good news.  After a good night's sleep (another part of our fat release structure) the craving was gone, and I was able to enjoy Halloween without eating any more candy.  I made sure to eat full healthy meals, and I took some L-Glutamine after lunch when the cravings usually strike.  Now I don't have the expertise to recommend any kind of supplement, but the sub-lingual L-Glutamine did seem to have a soothing effect after about 20 minutes.  (I read about it in Julia Ross's book, "The Diet Cure" if you're curious and want to study the effect of amino acids on appetite.)

Now, in the interest of strong habits of accountability, here is today's menu.



Breakfast:  Coffee with cream, 2 eggs cooked in 1t. coconut oil, 3 strips uncured bacon, mixed vegetables cooked with 1t. pastured butter.

Lunch: Large mixed salad with olive oil and apple cider vinegar dressing, 1 4oz chicken thighs, 1C broccoli.

Dinner: 4 oz pork chop, mixed salad with dressing as above, 1C broccoli.

Snack: 1 Sweet Potato with 2t coconut oil.

8 glasses of water.

There were other mistakes and mishaps along the way, but the most important idea to take from this post is the understanding that this challenge lasts 12 weeks, not a few days.  These 12 weeks are a time of learning and focus, and if we can learn to come back to our best habits after a foray into our old unhelpful ones, we learn more than we would have if our behavior had remained... perfect.