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Getting in Shape

How do/did you find balance?

Hi all -

I've been a lurker on the boards for a loooong time.  Finally about 4 months out from the wedding and things are coming together.  I recently went to get my dress from the shop, as it was delivered early from the designer, and did the usual inspection and try-it-on deal.  Well, the dress zipped (good) but is so tight in the ribs that I can't breathe, let alone sit down (bad...very bad).  I know that there are still alterations, etc that need to be done but this was not how I was hoping for that visit to go.  Now, for the past few days, I've decided to totally revamp eating and exercise habits with the goal to drop 8-10lbs and fit in this damn dress.  So frustrating but I have FI totally backing me as my cheerleader.

The past 5 days have been fine.  Actually, better than I anticipated - eating really well, no processed foods cravings (yay!), drinking lots of water, mid-high impact exercising every night after work.  Going in to this, I knew what I need to do.

And then it dawned on me as I was making plans with friends for tonight - the pizza and beer they are planning on enjoying will not be consumed by me.  Instead, I'll be there with my salad.  Maybe one glass of wine or a beer.  Maybe.

My question for the board for those who had a pre-wedding scramble:  How did/do you find balance with the healthy lifestyle and just enjoying life? 

I've had, well, minor eating issues when I was younger (nothing serious now) and do get concerned that I'm going to become slightly obsessed with loosing this weight.  My "former" lifestyle was very food-centric - let's go out to dinner; let's meet and catch up at this place for a drink/food; no plans? let's meet for lunch, etc.  I know it's on me to make proper decisions and not sabotage myself.  I also know that right now I'm not even 1 week in and in no place to say "yes...a cheeseburger is a good idea".  That time will come eventually where I can re-introduce a few "guilty pleasure" items within moderation.

I feel like I'm whining that my life will never be the same.  That's not my intention here.  I do know that once I'm in that damn (but absolutely beautiful) dress, I'll be so glad that I sacrificed 4 frikkin' months and achieved a great goal.  I'm just looking for some perspective from those who can relate.


Re: How do/did you find balance?

  • It sounds like you're heading in the right direction in trying to find balance, but you should by no means be 'sacrificing' for four months.  That will probably only lead to binges during the four months, or gaining a bunch of weight post wedding.  If your goal is just the wedding dress, that's one thing, but if it's a healthier lifestyle in general, then that isn't a good plan.

    My biggest advice, and what took me a while to learn, is to plan for a small indulgance.  I ALWAYS tried to plan for salad and wine at pizza places, and I NEVER once succeeded.  I just couldn't do it.  So I scaled back the goal to become, a max of two pieces and no bread on the side, or planning to order something like a red pizza (no cheese, or minimal cheese.)  It might still mean a small scale increase the next day from sodium, but I would know that I still made a better choice than I would have previously made by throwing my whole salad goal out the window.

    MFP also helped me, because when I wanted a burger, I would plan for it ahead of time.  Sometimes it meant saying 'okay, no bun with the burger bc you don't have enough calories,' and sometimes it meant 'sorry charlie, the burger is flat out not in the cards today because you had something yummy and large for lunch.'  It is super helpful to be able to see and plan ahead of time to build in for those indulgent outings.

    Another thing I did was try to meet up with friends and family between meals times.  Grabbing a coffee and walking the mall after lunch, or something similar, kept me out of trouble in quite a few instances.


    That said, what do your meals and workouts involve right now?

  • I find balance by sometimes indulging in treats like pizza and beer. I used to go out to eat and stuff my face full of really bad foods all the time, but now I at least show restraint. If you're working hard and eating right 90% of the time, you're doing good...go out and enjoy your pizza and beer, but do it in moderation. If you would have usually eaten 3 slices of pizza, try for just one with your salad. If you were going out and heavily drinking every weekend, maybe cut it back to 2 beers etc.

    If you completely deprive yourself you will probably be a lot more tempted to gorge yourself on what you've been missing before too long.

    Goodluck! A lot of the ladies here find inspiration with our daily accountability threads. We're all human, we all have bad days, but we at least talk about it so we can move on and get back on track.
  • Sheesh - you guys are awesome and quick to respond!  (But I expected that from my eons of lurking.)

    I am on MFP but am not totally convinced of its accuracy.  I do like that it's keeping me accountable for food, though, and keeps me on a general track for exercise/calorie intake.

    @Lobsters25 - I've been doing breakfast, mid-morning snack, lunch, afternoon snack (if needed), pre-workout boost snack, dinner.  Snacks consist of higher protein picks, fruits, veg/hummus, almonds, etc.  Dinner is low/no on bread/pasta-type carbs bc I'm usually not eating until 7:30ish because of the gym.  No food after 8pm (unless I'm eating a late dinner).  Monday night I went to bed hungry and cranky as hell.  I think I've found a better balance as the week went on.  (FI would agree, as well.)

    Exercise is cardio-focused with core/strengthening for the time-being.  Intervals on the elliptical for 30 mins have been leaving me feeling good - treadmill is a bore to me.  I follow it up with abs, planks, pushups, holding a few strengthening poses of yoga, etc.  I also am a dancer and have a 2 hour rehearsal during the week, so that's a great workout as well.  Overall, I've been feeling like a boss by the end of the night because of the increased activity.

    This isn't just a 4 month thing.  FI and I both agree that a healthy lifestyle is important to the both of us and we'd like to continue this way.  I know I can do it.  It's just a matter of finding the balance that you all mention during these super-focused months.  I need to keep all of your food suggestions in mind!  Moderation is key!
  • Ditto everyone else. If I want a treat or a meal out, I schedule it into my day by eating less calories beforehand, and I make sure that it's not very often. If I have one cheat meal every week or two, that's okay. One every two days - less okay.

    In my experience, thinking in terms of what I am sacrificing only leads to a loss of control and binge eating. I try to focus instead on making the healthy food delicious so I don't crave junk food, and when I'm really craving something, I don't deny myself but have it in moderation (slice of pizza with side salad instead of 4 slices of pizza). This works for me because personally, telling myself that something is off limits always leads to me obsessing about it and eventually breaking down and eating it in large quantities.
  • GiaspoGiaspo member
    Knottie Warrior 1000 Comments 25 Love Its Name Dropper
    Ditto all PPs.  Planning ahead helps me the most - if I know we are going out to dinner on Friday, I'll be sure to run Friday morning and eat clean all day long.  Keeping our pantry clean helps too.  And so does ensuring I include protein at every meal to stay full until the next.  We are all human and go off the rails every now and then; that's normal.  Getting back on them quickly is what counts.  

    Having a goal/event to work towards is also helpful and you've got that... your wedding day!  You can do it!  

  • Was Monday the only night you went to bed super hungry and cranky?

    Food choices sound great - way to go!

  • bwils35bwils35 member
    100 Comments First Anniversary 5 Love Its Name Dropper
    edited June 2013
    everyone else was so fast! I think the biggest thing for me was finding other ways to incorporate veggies and make salads interesting. You will get so bored so fast of the typical run of the mill salad/steamed veggies. Don't be afraid to grill (or broill veggies), expand your veggie horizon (this has been a life saver). Get a nice array of food color (orange/green/purple/red/anything). They are different colors because they all bring something nutrition wise to the table. In terms of finding balance, I don't deprive myself. I ask myself am I craving because of the sugar (say... chocolate?) or am I craving it because I just really want that piece of chocolate (or whatever it really is). If it is really the chocolate I want, I'lll have a small piece. If its the sugar? I'll have some water, a small piece of fruit, with a little bit of almond butter to fill me so that I'm not starving. Eating protein and some good fats (avocado, almond butter, EVOO, coconut oil, almonds) coupled with the protein will help keep you fuller longer. I've also found that when I (or FI) crave something, I try and make it at home (and since he has celiacs, most of the time when he craves something, its loaded with gluten and I have to make it GF anyways!). Something like making homemade GF pizza, you can control so much better what you put on it/amount you use and can better account for the calories. Normal pizza is usually ~300-400 cals per slice. When we make it, usually they work out too about 150-200 a slice (this includes chicken/cheese/sauce) everything. We're always here :) oh and ditto MFP. Sometimes just tracking it and having a good understanding of what you are eating helps. ETA: my iPad ate my paragraphs. I apologize :(
  • @Lobsters25 - Sunday (1st day) and Monday (2nd day) were my worst.  I think I leveled them a bit the rest of the week by eating dinner a bit later since I was at the gym right after work.

    @bwils35 - Luckily, I'm a fruit and veggie lover.  I'm so glad that I'm doing this food adjustment now - summer fruits and veggies are the best!!  I can't wait to hit up my local farmer's stand tomorrow morning.  They've had awesome spinach and arugula - at a fraction of the cost at the supermarket (bonus!).

    I really appreciate the support that I've gotten from this post.  It's nice to know that there is a group of strangers out there who willingly offer a different perspective on things.  I love FI but I needed some diverse feedback.
  • NonosGirlNonosGirl member
    100 Comments 5 Love Its First Answer Name Dropper
    edited June 2013
    I agree with PPs but I wanted to add that part of my issue is an emotional issue. When I was tired, upset, angry, hurt, lonely, etc. I took comfort in food and usually it was usually something that wasn't healthy. I've worked hard at curbing emotional eating but if I have an off day I've learned that I can't beat myself up about it or I spiral out of control. So my piece of advice is if you have an off day or an off meal don't dwell on it, there is alway a better choice to be made the next day or at the next meal..
  • I'm totally the same with "Let's catch up over food/drinks/lunch dates!" I'd suggest looking up local vegan/vegetarian/health food restaurants or cafes. They tend to have better choices instead of other fast food places and make for a fun lunch date :)

    Also, try clearing out your fridge! Anything that you feel aren't very healthy choices, chuck 'em or invite some friends over to eat them.

    A little while ago I went on a meal plan called Ideal Protein (this wouldn't be suitable for you right now, seeing as how it's geared for 50+ lbs of weight loss) but it taught me the importance of GREEN VEGGIES! Try to have at least 2 cups of them per day.
  • I'm totally the same with "Let's catch up over food/drinks/lunch dates!" I'd suggest looking up local vegan/vegetarian/health food restaurants or cafes. They tend to have better choices instead of other fast food places and make for a fun lunch date :)

    Also, try clearing out your fridge! Anything that you feel aren't very healthy choices, chuck 'em or invite some friends over to eat them.

    A little while ago I went on a meal plan called Ideal Protein (this wouldn't be suitable for you right now, seeing as how it's geared for 50+ lbs of weight loss) but it taught me the importance of GREEN VEGGIES! Try to have at least 2 cups of them per day.
  • There is absolutely nothing wrong with having a cheat meal once or twice a week. The trick is to make sure that you are eating as clean as you can the rest of the time.

    I can get slightly obsessive about my eating habits before the wedding -- 3 months to go! -- but I tell myself that one bad meal isn't the difference between fitting into my dress or not. It's the same thing when it comes to eating healthy. One healthy meal isn't going to make a difference either if you're eating junk the rest of the time. It's all about what you're doing long-term.

    My latest obsession has been a fruit/veggie shake every morning. It's the easiest thing in the world to make, and I'm half asleep normally. Just throw whatever you have on hand into a blender, add some chia seeds and whey protein, and mix it up. My normal shake consists of kale, berries and a banana.
  • AprilH81AprilH81 Columbus, OH member
    2500 Comments 500 Love Its Third Anniversary 5 Answers

    MFP isn't 100% accurate, but it is pretty darn close and is probably the closest you are going to get without a super high end food scale and a professional chef.


    I always assume the food counts are right and the exercise counts are on the high side.  I compensate for this by NOT eating all of my exercise calories unless it is a "splurge" day.

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  • I know exactly how you feel with finding balance.  I have a little over a month until my wedding and I am getting super nervous about how I am going to look and feel on my wedding day.  You need to find the balance of exercise and healthy eating to fit your life.  Eating healthy is easy for me because I do all the cooking and food shopping.  I also use a healthy diet plan that I found on Eating Well. The only time I really cheat is if my FI and I go out to dinner.  With the wedding only being a month away my long runs and going to the gym had to be put on hold.  I started doing the Focus T25 DVDs which has been great for me because I can do it at my house before or after work. The workouts are only 25 minutes long and extremely intense.  Maybe changing up your eating habits and workouts and getting a fresh start will help you find a new balance.  Good luck and I hope you can find something that works for you! :)
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