Highs and lows, and why staying the course blows.

I am frustrated.

So. effing. frustrated.

When you last saw–er, read about–me, I was on a high. In fact, a number of my posts get written when I’m at a high point. That must be annoying. Right now, I am annoyed with the version of myself that wrote those blogs. I wouldn’t blame you at all if you wanted to punch that me in the face.

Today’s me is generally pissed off at her lack of progress, despite working her ass off and committing her whole heart to this sickening journey.

By “sickening,” I mean like a rollercoaster. And I friggin HATE rollercoasters. Up and down and sometimes sideways, at points perfectly exhilarating and at other points you just want to puke while you try to figure out why the hell you decided to go on this miserable ride in the first place.

So yeah, I’m at a low today. A bend-over-the-trashcan-and-vomit-up-the-carnival-food-you-unwisely-ate-before-the-rollercoaster low.

Today’s me knows that she should find some stupid pictures to put in this blog, but she’s not going to, because it’s just too much work right now.

I’ve been trying to figure out what my problem is. I get that I’ve made a lifestyle change, and I can live with that. I like the clean food I eat, and I am not feeling deprived lately. But I did let things go just a tad this weekend: a splurge meal turned into a splurge day, which turned into an almost-the-entire-weekend splurge.

It’s easiest for me to eat clean during the week, but on the weekends, sometimes it’s a pain in the ass…not because the preparation is difficult or I am looking for a donut and cheeseburger, but because I just don’t want to worry about it. And quite frankly, I don’t think I should have to.

And there’s the rub. Those sneaky little turds: the “shoulds.”

SHOULD, SHOULD, SHOULD.

Here’s my bitchy list of shoulds:

1. I work my ass of five times a week, and eat squeaky clean and portioned M-F. I SHOULD be able to eat whatever I want–within reason–on the weekends.

2. Given the monumental amount of effort I’ve put in over the last 5 months, I SHOULD be further along on my journey.

3. I have worked hard in my fitness journey, and at my new job. I SHOULD be able to afford to reward myself with some new clothes and not have to walk around in saggy ass pants that don’t really fit me anymore. I SHOULD also be able to get some hot new boots for the fall.

4. Speaking of fall, it’s my favorite season, full of rich smells, bold colors and crisp air. I SHOULD be able to enjoy my favorite fall treats without having to obsess over every bite.

5. I’m tired. I SHOULD be able to get more sleep.

I could go on like this forever. I think you’re getting the picture, though, and hopefully my bad mood isn’t rubbing off on you.

The reason I’m so low right now is because I know that even though I SHOULD…for all these things, I CAN’T. Just because something SHOULD be, doesn’t mean that it is. And today–well, for the last week really–that is pissing me off in a major way. See, I bolded it so you know it is REALLY pissing me off.

Staying the course on this fitness journey just sucks right now. The progress is so slow it makes me want to scream. It just seems unfathomable to me that I can work this hard and still not be further along and I. Am. Frustrated.

I’ve started to question what is reasonable, and what is obsessive when it comes to this long haul. I repeat to myself, “Stay the course. It’s worth it.” But how much? How long?

A few weeks ago I wrote a blog about haters and metaphorical fat, where I noted that some of the awesomest people in my life love me DESPITE my possibly annoying focus on training and food.

This is true, and as always, I am grateful for those people.

But in my head, I’ve been wondering where the line is between being motivationally obsessed and being unhealthily obsessed. I don’t want my life to be ALL about fitness. I don’t want to be so crazed that I am going to be suicidal if I can’t get into a size 4 ever again.

But on the other hand, do I need to be THAT obsessed to really stay the course?

I don’t know.

I just want to be a reasonable person who can have a beer a couple of times a week. And maybe some cheese. And possibly a caramel apple, since it is fall, after all.

The serious challenge I’m facing is tempering this journey to a fitter and smaller version of myself with preserving MYSELF. And MYSELF freaking loves apple crisp made from apples I picked off a goddamned tree myself, with brown sugar and butter all mixed up together and then baked to a crisp on top.

It’s food, I get it. I obsess over food. But sometimes I feel like changing my attitude toward food is just as much about not making a huge deal of eating something once in awhile as it is about making sure my diet is clean and portioned.

But how do I know when I’ve gone too far and turned into a crazy obsessive freak instead of the best version of Steph I can possibly be? Where’s the line? Do I have to draw it myself?

That’s a stupid question. Of course I have to draw it myself. Shit.

I’ve solved nothing with this post. Perhaps I’ve even confused or annoyed you, my favorite reader. (Yes, you.) Apologies.

Some days, it just feels too hard to stay the course. Today is one of those days, but I guess I’m going to do it anyway. Fine.

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10 thoughts on “Highs and lows, and why staying the course blows.

  1. This is the best post yet. I like the others, but this one feels so real right now. I struggle so much with the ups and downs of life in general and so far my own personal fittness journey “as they call it on reality TV” πŸ™‚ has been filled with higher highs and even lower lows. I don’t think there is a rule book for life or for struggles no matter how severe or everyday. I think we need to look into ourselves in these moments and let them be. When I find myself upset about the future or the past, worrying and frustrated, I know I’m not living in the present. I always struggle to find the peace that lives in the moment.

    • YES! Living in the now. Such a serious challenge, Meggie. And I’m glad you got this one, because I promised myself when I started this blog that I wasn’t going to pull any punches. So I’m not. πŸ˜‰

  2. Steph I could have written that over & over many times. I always wonder why this is easier for some & harder for others. I hate that it’s hard. there are so many other things in life that are hard that this shouldn’t be one of them. You know I admire you for getting to class every morning so freakin’ early while I continue to sleep in my nice warm bed. Hang in there. As Christa says, the small things add up.

    • Tracy, the mornings aren’t hard for me anymore. I actually love them, and don’t forget that I am probably in MY nice warm bed several hours before you on the front end, so it all evens out. πŸ˜‰ We all have our strengths and weaknesses–I seriously admire you for taking on a marathon…AGAIN (you already know this)! That is some serious badassery.

  3. I hate to say this and discourage you but……..I have found dieting and fitness training mindset to be THE most damaging thing to my self esteem and any hope of ever being satisfied with my life. I stopped all dieting and fitness tracking a year ago and I have never felt better. Am I skinny, no…will I ever be a size 4..probably not. But I also know my life is full of friends, family, and work…not whether or not an extra ounce of apple is 30 calories and will put me over the top for the daily calorie quota. Our bodies are not machines…we are complex creatures with cravings, needs, and tough days that don’t factor into the Jillian Michaels 21st century obsession with weight loss and fitness. I am convinced the rising obesity problem is due to the constant dieting and obsession….not so much the kind of food we eat. Listen to our bodies, eat when hungry, learn to stop when full, don’t deprive yourself of ANY food and exercise moderately when you need to and feel like it. Other than that I won’t subject myself to this again. I have been in your head on this post and it is not fun..it sucks your life away. Good luck to you….you are beautiful and wonderful whether you ever look like you think you “should” or not!!!

    • Hi Stacy! You are definitely not discouraging me…this was definitely one of the points I was trying to make: where is that line between focus on a goal and unhealthy obsession? I feel like everyone has to find theirs, and it is ridiculously hard given the societal pressures you mention. Where is the balance? When does it take over your life? It sounds like you have found what works for you, which is AWESOME!!! Most days, I DO love what I do. The slow progress despite my hard work is what gets me down here and there. I’m so grateful to know that so many others feel the same way, and thank you so much for your kind words. πŸ™‚

  4. Stephanie – have to tell you that it’s like we share a brain. You have put into words what runs around in my head all the time, and I find hard to convey. Sometimes it’s just so freaking hard and exhausting. Ex.haust.ing.
    I wish I could say something uplifting and hopeful, but I’m feigning for some kettle corn, and it’s clouding my judgement. I just want you to know that you are not alone.
    You, my friend, are far from alone.

    • KETTLE CORN! Definitely a judgment-clouding thing. But even with clouded judgment, you nailed it. It’s exhausting. It makes you want to say, “WTF, powers of the universe? Haven’t I worked hard enough?” And, until this very second, this very reply, I have left out mention of the people I know who have trim little figures and eat whatever they want and don’t work out. Because I try not to compare myself to anyone and I know I could deadlift at least 2 of those people. But still. It seems unfair.

      Thanks for walking the walk with me.

  5. Holy crap, you’re human! I don’t mean to be harsh…goodness knows you’re being harsh enough with yourself right now. But reality check, it IS hard to radically change everything about your lifestyle. I don’t think its realistic to say you’re NOT going to eat a single fall treat. But, you dont want to undo any hard work. So, maybe you can come up with some compromises. Like, for every caramel apple or serving of apple crisp you will first do a few rounds of one of those tabatas that Christa emails…no gym equipment required to do burpees, mountain climbers, jump squats etc.
    I also want to tell you that you have been a tremendous source of inspiration and motivation to me AND the fact that you’re struggling right now does not change that one single bit. You might be a little tired right now of fighting the good fight but that does not take away your badass successes. You have accomplished a lot. Like, a REAL lot. I’ll say it again, I saw you doing those box jumps, and it was very badass. I hope to catch up to you some day. Hang in there, remember the mantra”slow progress is still progress”, and print out several copies of Christa’s love letter to you and tape them up all over the place–your mirrors, on the fridge, in your car, at work. And know that you have lots of strong women sending you strong woman vibes!

    • Thanks so much for the support, Lisa. The whole point of the post was that I fully recognize how painstakingly hard the journey is, and that I’m totally sick of it. Or at least I was, at that moment. πŸ˜‰ And I would NEVER say I wasn’t going to eat a single fall treat. I will eat several, (or more than several), over the next 3 months. But it’s that frustration I get sometimes, that everything shouldn’t have to be so excruciatingly planned out, that I shouldn’t have to weigh every treat against my workouts and what I ate besides the treat (which I already do!), that my progress should be further along by now…that’s what gets me. But again, just because I think something SHOULD be, doesn’t mean it is. If only the universe would bend to my will, all would be well. HAAAAA!!!

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