Failure is Optional


Today was… bad.  I fell off the wagon.  Hell, I did a lot more than fall off the wagon.  I willingly, knowingly stepped off of the wagon… and then stood there while it ran me over.

The day started out decently enough.  I had to observe a classroom for my grad work, so my husband took the morning off and stayed home.  We slept in until the baby got up at 7:30, shared a nice breakfast of fruit and cheerios, and then headed out the door.  The plan was for me to be dropped off at my observation school while dad and daughter headed off to run some errands.  They’d pick me up in an hour, we’d all have lunch together, then we’d drop the husband off at work.

Everything was going according to plan until I got to the school.  I arrived to discover that my contact at the school hadn’t gone through the appropriate channels, and so I couldn’t observe the class.  My husband was already twenty minutes down the road, so he had to come back for me.  We ran some errands together, and then we had lunch.  Here’s where things started to slide.

In the end, instead of making healthy choices and exercise, I did the following:

I ate three pieces of pizza, a brownie, two chicken nuggets, a dark chocolate caramel candy bar, a piece of Starbucks poundcake, a pound of steamed shrimp, and one of those tiny 3oz containers of Haagen-Dazs chocolate peanut butter ice cream.  Although a day of running errands did get me enough walking that I still reached my calorie burn goal, I did no real exercise.

The worst part about it is that at several points in the day I could have stopped myself if I’d just called someone and asked for help.  I chose, purposefully and knowingly, not to call for help.  Now I feel awful.  I feel heavy and bloated, I have a headache, and I have less than zero motivation.  I know my food choices will improve tomorrow, since I have no choice but to eat the healthy foods I have at home, but I’m afraid I’ve broken my exerciser.

Why did I do this?  I am doing so well, and I’m not under any particular stress.  I’m enjoying my life, I am SO proud of my progress.  I had a fantastic, healthy and active weekend.  I’m making great progress with my C25K training.  I have lost almost thirty pounds, and I can really see and feel the difference.  Everything is going so well, moving in the right direction… so why would I do this?  Why would I purposefully sabotage my own work and progress when everything is going so well?

I’d love some help, some insight, some support.  I don’t know where this is coming from or why I’d do it.  I have every intention of getting right back to the right choices tomorrow, but unlike every other time in this journey, this feels more like an intention than a definite purpose, more like a vague hope than a solid plan.  I just feel like I’ve suddenly, unexpectedly, and totally unreasonably lost my steam…

Is this something that happens to anyone else?  Is it something I can expect to keep happening along the way?  If I can look at this as just a thing, just an occasional horrific day in the midst of everything I’m doing right, then maybe I can get past it without letting it stop me in my tracks.  I really want to make this right, to do the right thing and keep making the best possible choices.  I’ve done so well, and I am seeing such huge benefits from my progress.  I don’t want to stop now.  So how do I get past this?  And how on earth do I get back out there to finish my Couch to 5K training?  It’s already such a struggle for me, and I am terrified that this setback will be enough to undo all of my best efforts to conquer.

I want to run a 5K in September.  I want to be a healthy, happy example of good living for my daughter.  I want to be a successful part of the health and fitness blogging world.  I want this for myself and for my family, and for everyone who thinks they can’t do it just because they don’t always maintain control over their tendency toward bad choices.  So I guess I need your help… again.

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15 Responses

  1. This post could have come from my keyboard. I went out an purchased things (choc chip muffins, burrito, etc) for the sheer purpose of stuffing them in to my pie hole. Where are you again? Maybe we can help each other. The only problem is, I have no desire to get back on the band wagon at this point. You’re that step ahead.

  2. {{hugs}}
    yes, its going to happen again. its not about how many times it happens, it about picking yourself up and dusting yourself off after each time it does happen.

    think about it this way, if your daughter was learning to walk and stumbled and took a fall – what would you do? knowing you, i would say you would do this – scoop her up, tell her you love her, and set her back on her feet and encourage her to try again. so why not do that for yourself?

  3. Tonight I was sitting on the couch, watching TV. My wife had left 1/2 a bag of M&Ms sitting on the end table. Before I knew what I was doing, I had the bag in hand and was popping them, one-by-one, into my mouth. Oops – old habit (they’re hard to break).

    Everyone has a bad eating day – you just have to realize it and then do better tomorrow. It won’t wreck your progress, so don’t beat yourself up!

  4. ok, I love N’s response! I can’t beat that so I’m just going to say that we are all right there with you. (been there…done that)
    shake it off and know that tomorrow is another day.

    (and I don’t think i knew you were in MD. So close…yet so far!) 🙂

  5. Yes, it will happen again, and if it happens 6 times a year, think of the other 346 days and you are still way ahead of the game; just do not let it start a backward roll; Evi is counting on you and so am I…I’m doing this partly for you too my love; we have to be strong for each other……I love you more than the breath of life!!!

  6. Why do you work out, is it just for the sake of losing weight? Is it just for the sake of completing C25K? It seems from reading your blog, that it’s about your future and the future of your family. Your motivation is inside you, it’s your daughter, it’s being able to run around with her throughout her childhood.
    You can do it! You can wake up tomorrow, and go out on your walk with your daughter. Breathe in the fresh air, see the light in front of you. We’re all going to have setbacks (heck, I’m currently curled up on the couch sniffling and feeling crummy), but it’s not about that, it’s not about focusing on what we did that we shouldn’t have – heck, it’s not about perfection. We’re certainly not perfect nor do we expect others to be – so we shouldn’t expect it from ourselves. You made choices you wish you hadn’t made today, but that’s okay. You made those choices. Tomorrow, think about your motivation and make choices again. You’re awesome, and you have a daughter who will always look up to you (well until those terrible teen years hit). Do it for yourself and do it for her.

  7. Well, I wish I had some answers to all those wonderful questions you asked. Sadly, I don’t. But, I sure have asked those same questions of myself MANY times over the past 2+ years that I have been on this weight loss journey.

    I am very familiar with the wagon and how to fall off it. It has run me over, also and has even crashed and burned a few times. But, I always find another to climb on.

    I say don’t worry about the “why” right now. Don’t even attempt to debunk this whole mind-blowing game of weight loss. Just keep on keepin’ on. Every day. Keep trying. Every good choice counts. 🙂

  8. I have this theory – and its maybe just an excuse, but i read a while ago that we only have a limited amount of self discipline. If i have to choose between working on the report i’m dreading and going to the gym for spin class, and i make myself pick up the report, i think i’ll probably cave earlier. So all the planning is actually cirumventing that. Sunday is my food decision making day. I try (in vain) to plan my meals and i go to the store and pick up x, y and z healthy snacks. Then halfway through my week i get stuck on something terrible, have too many errands i have to do, and absolutely throw myself at the delicious starbucks poundcake. fat 2 fit radio has the best saying : failure to plan is planning to fail. if you learn how to put this all together, let me know.

  9. First, we all have off days. They happen. I’m totally embarrassed about the entire (yes, entire) bag of chips I polished off in 1 day this weekend. But I’m working really really hard to NOT beat myself up about it. You shouldn’t either 🙂

    Go to bed tonight, and tomorrow you get another chance.

    Second, c25k: I have had to repeat weeks. I’ve started 3 times (never get past week 4 due to arthritis) and have always taken way more time on each week so as not to burn myself out. Like 3-4 weeks before I advance to the next stage. If you feel like it’s progressing too fast, you can stay on the same week until it gets easier. Really! Give yourself permission!

    I’ve tried to figure out why I sabotage myself, and I can’t. But sometimes I get complacent when things are going well – my last (serious) time on WW, I lost 35 lbs, and then got lazy. And gained 20 of it back. I think I start feeling like things are going well, and I can go back to the old habits. I don’t know that I’ve really come to accept that the old habits have to stay gone, and can never come back. That this cannot be temporary.

    Hang in there. You’re not alone!

  10. I’m not the wisest person when it come to this, but I do think that maybe if you acknowledge that you are going to have days like this, then it’ll be harder to sabotage yourself.

    Everyone has an eff it day and goes for Gold on the treats, but you exercise and overall have a good attitude to where you want to be, not just to squeeze into a gorgeous little frock, but to change things for good.

    I admire you more than you know, and I check in here constantly to keep going myself.

    It takes a very brave person to do what you are doing and admit that you need help.

    C x

  11. I don’t think it’s healthy to diet and deprive yourself ALL the time. If you have a day that is crap, then you have a day that is crap. Start again tomorrow.
    Just try not to have more than one crappy day in a week.. The Zone diet lets you eat anything you want on Sundays. Many athletes use the Zone diet for training.

    Oh and BTW, you inspired me. I’m starting couch to 5K today. Did my first run/jog. Hope to do my first 5K by the end of summer. So see, you did something right!! 🙂

    • Okay, that’s fantastic! And don’t worry, I’m never “dieting.” I’m just trying to make good, healthy food choices… which did not happen yesterday…

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