No, I haven't been running 25 miles/week. I haven't been setting any PR's lately. I haven't put more than a small dent in the weight I've gained over the last 8 months. What I have been doing is trying, trying, trying to break old habits. Habits like every time I go to the store for something, also getting a candy bar, or two. Habits like dwelling on work 24 hours a day/7 days a week. Habits like raiding the refrigerator between meals. Habits like checking my work e-mail all day long and responding to every question immediately. And working on my single worst habit of all. SAYING I'LL START MY DIET TOMORROW!!! SAYING I'LL START RUNNING NEXT WEEK!!!
I've had some small victories this week, particularly the last couple of days. One, we had our famous family July 4 Bar-B-Q yesterday, complete with brisket, sausage, ribs, potato salad, mom's homemade mac-and-cheese, chicken and dumplings, chocolate cake, and ice cream. Quite a menu, huh? This is how I grew up. This is how my family ALWAYS eats. And it may sound gross to folks used to a "normal" diet but I LOVE this stuff. Of course, it's best followed by a late afternoon nap followed by a repeat on the chocolate cake. Well, It was painstakingly difficult but I made my own meal and ate it before the good stuff was served. I wanted to get stuffed so that there would be no temptation at all. So, I blackened 3 tilapia filets in the grill pan and steamed a big Zip-n-steam bag full of fresh veggies with salt and pepper only. Zuchinni squash, yellow squash, onion, bell pepper, broccoli all steamed to perfection. It was about 3 or 4 cups of veggies by the time it was all said and done and I ate every bit and the fish was scrumptious. Mission accomplished. I just watched everyone else eat and never craved anything. And fortunately, everybody took home the leftovers so I'm not staring at the goodies all weekend.
And there were two victories in one day. I was going to Walgreen's to get a bag of ice before the celebration yesterday. I guess I fell asleep in the store or maybe I was in some sort of daze but I awoke to find myself on the candy isle, staring at a box of Reese's Big Cups. I actually had the candy in my hand and was reaching for a second for the short trip home. But I fought old habits, threw the candy back on the shelf, and ran as fast as I could to the checkout with my ice and got the heck out of there.
Then today, I was faced with my mother of all old habits. I was out cruising with the fam and the subject of going out to eat came up. Someone mentioned Chili's and I immediately started thinking about a Smokehouse Bacon Triple-the-Cheese Big Mouth Burger with fries. I was thinking, heck, it's July 4th. I'll start my diet next week...start fresh with a new week. Then, I said as long as I'm starting next week, we may as well go to Natalia's for my favorite 3 beef enchiladas with a full order of guacamole salad. Mmmmmm!!! I acutally turned right and headed with the family in the direction of Natalia's. However, at the entrance to the freeway, I stayed on the feeder. The fam exclaimed, "WHERE YOU GOING, DAD?" I broke the news that plans had changed yet again and we were going with plan A and heading back to Chili's. I had the Guiltless Chicken Platter. 580 calories and I must say it was good. Not as good as the Big Mouth Burger but satisfying nonetheless. I ended the evening with a really good workout at Memorial Park. It was quite a nice evening.
To those that don't have an eating disorder and who are not habitual gluttons, it's hard to explain how intense the urge is to keep following the same old habits. I mean putting that Big Cup back took every bit of will power I could muster. And forgoing my favorite enchilada feast for some grilled chicken and veggies just...well, I frankly don't know how I pulled that one off. But you know, I remember a day not too long ago when my life was lived by a completely different set of habits. I remember a day when I just couldn't stand not to get my Saturday morning long run in. When I didn't check my e-mail at all when I wasn't in the office. When eating fresh fruit and veggies every day was a must. When the only computer "work" I did on the weekend was blogging and reading running blogs. When I actually enjoyed drinking water all day instead of coffee.
So, I didn't break any records this week but to me, it was just as dramatic as a PR. I took a few small steps towards conquering those old habits.