Getting Started, Yet Again

This post is in response to How The Heck Do I Get Started!?, over on Nerd Fitness. Since it’s a call to “do something, today”, this post was my way of doing something.

One week ago, I finally got tired of myself. Again.

I can’t begin to count the number of times I’ve decided to “get healthy”. I’ve studied and dabbled with many of the (somewhat sane) diet plans around (though I guess I’ve never really made it past a few days with juice fasts and the like) and various forms of exercise. I work at it for a while, see some results, then go back to what I was doing before. It just never seems to really stick.

I don’t know what prompted the need for a change this time around (though it might be the 3 enormous mirrors in our new master bathroom), but just over a week ago, I got fed up with the direction I was moving (or not moving) in, and decided it was time to make a change. Knowing how quickly I’ve failed when I try to change everything at once, I decided to start small, with my diet (since I know that’s the single biggest issue to address to get my weight down to a healthy level). Though I don’t necessarily go for some of the rationale behind it (namely some of the evolutionary biology claims), I’ve seen enough people getting great results from a paleo diet, that I wanted to move in that direction. I’ve always done better with low carbohydrate diets than low fat diets, and paleo seems one of the most rational of the former. It also follows along with a number of things that I do agree with in my research over the years (traditional food preparation, unprocessed, whole foods, higher fat intake, etc.). I don’t know if I’ll stay with paleo forever, but I needed to get moving again, and this was the direction I chose.

So, back to the “start small” part. I gave myself permission to fudge, right from the start. Oddly, I haven’t, at least not much. My meat and vegetable sources are still crap (no organic, pastured, grass-fed goodness), and I’ve indulged in a bit of cheese a few times, and even a dollop or two of sour cream, but otherwise I’ve stayed completely away from grain and sugar for the past week. Barely. I did have a small piece of cake with ice cream for my son’s birthday on August 5th, but I felt so awful afterwards that I’ve barely been tempted since. And that was more than a week ago. So, good on me, I’ve been on the wagon for one whole week, and I’m cheating less than I gave myself permission to. That’s definitely something.

The strange (or not-so-strange) thing about my change in diet, is that my energy level went up markedly. Don’t get me wrong, I’m out-of-shape and at least 75 pounds overweight, but I finally started feeling like I had the energy to do something about it. Usually I’m so lethargic that the thought of exercising sounds overwhelming, especially after eating, but it’s been different this past week. In fact, I’ve occasionally had nervous energy build up that I needed to release. Luckily, a few jumping jacks, squats, or incline push-ups set my heart to racing, and I sat back down to concentrate on work. (I sit at a computer all day.) But it’s amazing to actually want to work out. My boys and I moved a piano on Saturday! (I’m still sore from that one.) I got a mini prowler sled style workout by pushing my kids around our huge family room in a cardboard box, one at a time, racecar style. I actually tried a plank and managed to hold it for 30 seconds!

So to sum it up, just over a week ago, I did start. I changed my diet. Other things seem to be changing of their own accord because of my change in diet, but that’s all I’m focusing on right now. My goal is to make it to 30 days (which should establish it as a habit), then reassess and reevaluate. We’ll see how it goes, but at least I’m underway, and that seems to be a large part of the battle.