Weight loss Regime Survival Tip #28: Aftermath

The turkey is gone, the multitude of leftovers scattered to various fridges so that it no longer looks like you sacked a small city in an effort to pack your larder til spring and if you are like me, you are back to sleeping in your own bed.

Finally. Sleep.

Once back in my own bed I have the irresistible urge to get back into my normal routine. To spend the time between Thanksgiving and Christmas thinking about my own life rather than my life in juxtaposition to the family as a whole. When home, I often think of myself as a planet in the universe of family, orbits unchanging and eternal. It is a fact supported by the repeat conversations and the decades long disputes that occasionally crop up (which is both a good and bad thing). While I love them, at the end of the trip, it leaves me longing to once again return to my own personal space.

Unlike previous years, this year a return to normal includes getting back to the gym and walking as well as counting my calories and not stuffing my face because someone uses the words you can not refute, the phrase that means that you will eat whatever is put in front of you regardless of your current personal preferences and or already full belly. That’s right, you know them.

“I made this special, just for you.”

The phrase also includes wide eyes and a pleased grin along with a sort of tired but satisfied look that makes you think that in addition to slaving away in the kitchen for HOURS if not days, the person presenting the treat personally grew and harvested every item included in the ingredients list, possibly even grinding the flour themselves. Unspoken will be the understanding that fingers were worked to the bone and that possibly in order to create the concoction, someone had to walk a long distance, uphill both ways, in knee deep snow.

Go ahead, turn down the tasty treat.

I dare you.

You can’t.

Not if you have a shred of a soul.

Plus refusing is likely to set of an apocalyptic style critique of your manners, which is never worth it, so there is that.

Regardless, I am home again. And due to the long drive we managed to escape with a minimum of leftovers.

One thing I learned from my summer trip and subsequent five pound weigh gain, is that in the aftermath of an event like a trip or a holiday, you have to give yourself a little bit of a break. You have to be understanding with yourself. When you are on the road to losing a large amount of weight you will not always have a smooth ride. There will not always be a consistent loss. Everything in life that is actually worth doing is going to come with some bumps.

Otherwise everyone would do it.

I went into Thanksgiving knowing that I would gain some weight back and that at the end of it I would be heavier when I returned than when I left. Knowing my family, I understood it was more of an inevitability rather than a possibility.

And that is okay.

One thing I also learned in the aftermath of my last trip was not to get on the scale again right away. It is tempting. The first thing I wanted to do on monday morning was to step on the scale and assess the damage. Knowing I was going to gain some weight back and actually seeing how much of a gain that was are two different things. But I resisted. Because I remembered last time.

Last time, I came home, got on the scale the next morning and after bemoaning the gain and quite frankly saying some not so nice things to myself because of it, I then took myself to the gym. That week I worked out harder than before and walked even longer distances, moving between walking trail and treadmill. While I did work off all of the weight I gained on my trip, that weekend I collapsed. I sat like a lump all weekend and the following week my activity in the gym was rather dulsitory. I did not put my finest efforts into it because I worked myself out the week before.

My freak out and reaction wrecked my slow and steady progress and knocked my schedule for a loop long after the trip was done.

So knowing myself, this time I decided not to step onto the scale until my normal Friday weigh in. I know once I see those numbers I can not be trusted not to go into overdrive, so I am just not going to put myself in that position. Instead I am getting back into my normal routine. No extras.

This gives me a week to get back into my system of workouts, without burning myself out, and it gives me a week of eating my normal calorie count instead of holiday excess. It also gives me a week of distance from the holiday so that my brain is thinking of my work schedule and not feeling like I need to make up for time I took off. While I may still come in heavier on Friday than I was last Wednesday, I know I will continue to lose weight.

It is a step back, not a dead end.

I should add that while I decided this before I even left for the holiday, I actually saw one big benefit with this plan when I went to the gym Monday morning. While this was not only the first Monday after Thanksgiving, it was also the first Monday in December. As a consequence the gym was packed not only with people intent on burning off the Thanksgiving excess, but those wanting to get ahead of christmas and look good for New Years. Usually those two events (thanksgiving and Christmas prep) are seperated but as thanksgiving came late this year, they collided.

As I went through my normal routine, I saw many eyes filled with desperation and severe intensity. I also saw many unfamiliar faces. while I don’t do a lot of talking in the gym I do recognize the regulars.

These weren’t regulars, they were people on a mission.

There was a great deal of relief in not being one of them. While I too want to look fabulous at New Years, I also know that I am not going to lose fifty pounds by then and that I can still look fabulous even with the fifty pounds. Which is actually something I also worked hard to learn this year.

So in the aftermath of The Feast of the Fall, I am trying to accept this bump in my road and not be so harsh with myself. I am trying to avoid putting myself in a place of panic and am trying not to be as critical of myself for not being a perfect little weight loss robot. If you went a little overboard on the holidays (either intentionally or because you were pushed by well meaning family in a wave of love and guilt), I hope you will treat yourself kindly as well when returning to your normal routine. You deserve it.

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