Fitness Update 2011: Week 14

This morning's breakfast was definitely an act of comfort food: maple-flavored whole wheat and corn meal waffles with fresh strawberries and vanilla cashew cream.

The scale has brought bad news again this week. I am over 140 pounds for the third week in a row, and I know why. I can’t blame bloating, hormones, or last night’s dinner for this setback. It is because I am a card-carrying stress eater, and I am now under quite a bit of stress. Running, biking, and fighting can take some edge off, but sooner or later I find myself turning to comfort foods to ease my woes.

They call it comfort food for a reason–eating certain types of food can provide a temporary emotional lift that makes life feel a little bit better, if only for a while. Too bad most of these foods are also on the naughty side, rich with fat, sugar, and salt. They are ok once in a while, but eating like this as a daily habit is not going to give me the fitness results I want.

My main comfort food these days is chocolate in its many forms, and I try to mitigate the damage by mixing my super dark chocolate morsels up with dried fruits and raw nuts to make my own comfort food gorp. This cuts the naughty sugary with healthier fair making it slightly less damaging, I hope. In times if extreme stress, such as right now, I will also feed my feelings by snacking on half sandwiches made with whole grain bread, homemade peanut or almond butter, and organic jam. This is perhaps better than Skippy and Smuckers on Wonderbread, but it is still a lot of extra calories in my day. And I will really loose control if there is anything resembling mac and cheese in the fridge, because a bowl of that topped with sriracha is another carb-rich high calorie woe-soother that I find hard to resist. These extra calories are adding up to a little bit extra me, and rather than shedding the 10 pounds or so I have left I am starting to put weight back on.

This week I plan to try some other ways to cope with the growing stress. Maybe I’ll try to add more walks into my day, which should be possible since the weather looks like it will be better than last week’s miserable cold drizzle. I am also going to take time to practice my pool game, which I find meditative as long as I don’t have an opponent egging me on, and I’ll also try to replace some of the extra snacking with cups of soothing tea (jasmine, if I can find it). Intellectually I understand that the rough time I’m in the middle of will pass all too soon, so I need to focus on getting through it without doing harm to my body and mind.

Exercise remains a critical component to my stress management plan. Here’s what I did this week:

  • Sunday I gave myself a day of rest.
  • Monday I took a 45 minute strength and conditioning class and a 1 hour MMA class.
  • Tuesday I took a kettlebell class that ran just over an hour.
  • Wednesday I walked the dogs for 30 minutes and took a 45 minute strength and conditioning class and a 1 hour MMA class.
  • Thursday I took a 45 minute class MMA class
  • Friday I rode my bike indoors for 45 minutes.
  • This morning I took a 45 minute MMA class. I hope to walk the dogs later, as well.

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