Peaks and Valleys

Burn off more calories than you’re taking in. That’s the only sure-fire way to lose weight.

Sounds simple enough.

The trouble with dieting is that, similar to any real challenge, there are peaks and valleys. Highs and lows. The existence of these variances is not so much the trouble, actually; it’s how difficult it is to get through the lows.

For example, a high: the second week of running consistently with my husband. I pushed myself to run farther and harder than I thought I could. I felt good. I thought to myself, “This isn’t so bad. I can do this.”

A low: this week, after Monday. The salad I made for Tuesday lunch was completely unappetizing and unsatisfying. Everything tasted wilty and watery and bland. Maybe I’m bad at making salads, but it hadn’t been that much of a big deal until Tuesday. I haven’t run any more this week after Monday (my “high” run), due to a combination of tiredness and laziness. On top it all, I had to eat my salad while staring at an enormous, sugary, pink-and-purple birthday cake that there in honor of one of our editors (I’m the summer intern at a local magazine, by the way). I wish I could say I powered through and resisted the cake, but I did not. I forced down as much salad as I could, and then cut myself a slice.

The thing is, I’m not even dieting, strictly speaking. I’ve been eating salads or whole grain pasta for lunch, which have been intentional changes, and I’ve been running more, but other than that I’m not following a specific meal plan or exercise regimen. I feel even more disheartened by this low period, then, because there doesn’t seem to be enough reason for even such small changes to feel so difficult.

Another aspect of this low is the realization that I’m not going to see any physical results for quite a while, so I should stop expecting them.

As I trudge through this particular valley, I’m discovering an emotional reaction as well. I find myself angrily watching the size two girls at restaurants freely eating their burgers and fries because their mother’s blessed them with narrow hips and a fast metabolism. I’m by no means obese, but as the last few months have proven, if I don’t exercise and watch what I eat, I’ll gradually add pounds.

I know that women’s clothing sizes are basically arbitrary, but it’s still discouraging when the last time I got new clothes I was one size, and this time I’m one size bigger.

I probably sound melodramatic. I’m not as depressed as this post probably makes me sound. These are just all of the little thoughts I’ve been having this week. Anybody have some awesome diet-friendly recipes or tips to share? Because one thing’s for sure: salads get less and less exciting the more often you eat them.

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