I want to say that putting on a few pounds over the holidays was my motivating factor for embarking again on this journey but I've been planning on it for several months now. I solely blame my need for instant gratification. Seeing the pounds and inches melt off of me in the three-weeks of hell doing this protocol makes it SO worth it. And having to wait the months it would take to see the same results at the gym would just suck. So, I'm squeezing in a three-week bout in hell between New Years and Jan 28th when the official start of Ragnar training begins for the insanity I have scheduled in June.
Except that might not have been the case and now it is totally a bittersweet journey!
You see, the first thing you do is take measurements for "before" and "after" kinds of comparisons. I really like measurements as a guideline of how well you're doing on weight loss or maintenance because the scale is unreliable once you start building muscle and so I do measurements about once a quarter. (Does this make me obsessive? It sure sounds like it when I put it down in writing!) So on "Day One" I faithfully pulled out the measuring tape and dutifully recorded my measurements. And then, as is my nature, I promptly plugged them into my nifty spreadsheet which compares the current data to the previous measurement and overall from the first set of recorded measurements. I know, I'm a total geek but I've accepted it by now and so should you!
And that's when things got interesting. You see, my last set of measurements were from the first of December - at the end of a 90-day challenge I'd participated in with a group of friends intended to keep each other motivated to work out and make good food choices. I kind of slacked off a bit toward the end and it was only the ending measurements compared to the beginning ones that made it worth doing since even though I had been a bit of a slacker I had still lost overall inches - but the scale read higher at the end. (Another piece of evidence supporting the claim that people should just throw the scale away and never step on it!) Anyway... the number on the scale had continued to slowly creep up - like 4 pounds - over the course of December compliments of all the sweets I just ate and ate for like two weeks. This was exactly why I was looking forward to the fresh, whole foods of the HCG diet being forced on myself. I knew I'd gotten off track so I just recorded the numbers, not letting them mean anything, and forgot about it. But when I was plugging them into the spreadsheet, guess what?!? I might have gained "weight" according to the scale but according to the measurements I had actually lost - in all the right places like my hips and thighs and bust (which for me includes a bit of "back fat" I haven't rid myself of yet). WTF?! You mean I ate and ate sweets and because I was going to the gym regularly I was still thinner? But I didn't know and now I've started HCG and I can't run and can only do light weights?!? For THREE WEEKS?!
So the rationalizing queen inside of me started thinking of all the ways I could still work out even while on this crazy protocol. I can't run, but I CAN walk. I can't do strenuous weight lifting, but I COULD do a little circuit of weights slowly, three times a week. Right? We'll see how much energy I have for the weights but I'm for sure walking every chance I get! Maybe combining the two things that work will get me even more amazing results?!? We'll see!
The other crazy part of embarking on this journey again is that my carnivorous hubby is doing it with me. He's a hottie - I won't lie - with the body of a Greek god and most people who know him will be shocked. But, he injured his back ten years ago and blew out is ACL a couple of years ago and it all adds up to slowing down for him which means he's getting a little thick around the waist. I'm not one to judge - you say you want to slim down and you know it works because you've watched me do it, then great! It will be way easier to do it together than cooking two meals for dinner, that's for sure! But then there's the part you don't know - he eats a lot. And he's a meat and potatoes kind of a guy. But potatoes are forbidden for the next six weeks in any form. And red meat is a no-no for the next three. Yes, he can have chicken but only a single serving - which is 3.5 ounces, not pounds. And the rest of his diet will consist of things that as he puts it "food eats". As in, "that's not food, that's what food eats" while looking down his nose disdainfully at my pseudo-vegetarian fare. It should be fun to watch. Although he has iron-strong will power and will stick to the program like glue, it might be even more miserable for him than for most.
Last time I did this back in April of 2010, I did a 40-day protocol which I swore I would never ever ever do again. I'm back to the 23-day with the mentality that I can do anything for three weeks. I'm getting to be an old hat at it, not stressing about the food choices or what I can and can't eat and even waited until the last day to stock up on the required food items in the refrigerator. I remember the first time when everything was new and I didn't know how to eat right and I stressed and obsessed the first couple of days about what I could and couldn't have. Not this time, now I'm just impatient for it to be the end so I can hit the road for another run. Or even the gym! I guess that's what they mean when they say a lifestyle change: when you eat pretty much the way you're supposed to in order to maintain your health even when you're not on a diet!
Speaking of the gym... running 8 miles on a treadmill is only enjoyable with a good running playlist on the iPod and interesting people to watch. Yes, I'm a people watcher in addition to my sarcasm who rarely filters what I think from coming out my mouth. It makes for some interesting times usually. The gym is no exception and when you're on a treadmill for almost two hours there are lots of people who come and go. I thought it was fun to watch the obsessive couple with their print-outs from what I assume was some kind of training program fiddling with the intervals - uphill, downhill, fast, slow and do it all over again. Then there was the entertainment factor of those tiny women with their perfect hair and spiffy workout clothes who walked but not fast enough to actually need to pull their hair up or produce any sweat to mar their perfect outfit; the guy who ran a long time dripping sweat; the hard body chick who didn't bother with a shirt over her sports bra so she could prove without a doubt how little body fat there was jiggling around and all the people in between. It even made the irritation of the treadmill automatically going into cool down after an hour easier to bear. I thought passing two hours on a treadmill would suck but it didn't - and I'm sure my facial expressions as I watched the people around me provided some entertainment for other people watchers if they were looking.
So, here's to the craziest beginning of a new year I have recollection of. And here's to it going fast so I can get back to "normal" again with at least another twenty pounds gone forever! Happy New Year!