When my jeans get tight…

…my first thought is, “Hmm. I wonder if I left these in the dryer for too long?”

Because let’s be honest–the easiest thing to do when confronted with an unpleasant reality is to offload it on someone–or something–else.

I’ve had this pair of jeans for two years, so they ain’t changing. 🙂

Once I blow past that first question, the one thing I don’t do is immediately jump on the scale. In fact, I only weigh myself every couple of months or so, and more out of curiosity than anything else.

No, as I continue to bounce up and down in a one-woman mosh pit, extend my right leg in a series of awkward karate kicks, and jerk the waistband up as I shimmy my hips down, I start to ask myself these questions:

1) Am I still awesome?

SHYEAH

And the answer is, “Shyeah. Of course. I have muscular legs, a powerific booty, strong arms, and many other muscles that make life better. My soft belly makes me an excellent cuddler. And at no point does my body’s outer status affect my inner maternal honey badger.”

2) Have I been indulging in too many treats?

It’s possible. I’m aware I have a sweet tooth and know how easy it is for me to slip from “a cookie here or there” to expecting dessert after every meal.

3) Have I been eating enough protein? 

*stands up slowly out of a hard plastic chair* “Hi. My name is Sarah, and I love carbs. Sometimes I love them so much that they crowd out my protein needs in a day.”

I know this because Tyler knows this.

If the previous sentence makes no sense to you, you haven’t seen Fight Club a bajillion times like I have.

tyler-durden-fight-club-oh-i-get-it-its-very-clever
I am Jack’s smirking subconscious.

But really–I know this because I’ve tracked my macros before. The first time involved using the MyFitnessPal app on my phone during a Turbulence Training online transformation contest in 2013.

2013-TT-contest
My TT 90-day transformation contest results

My main takeaway from this experience was that I got used to measuring appropriate portions for the foods I eat regularly. It becomes much easier to ‘eye-ball’ a serving of peanut butter when you know what two tablespoons actually looks like.

The other time I tracked my macros was in late summer of 2016, when I made the impulsive decision (I’m a curious cat) to see if I would feel differently by hitting specific macro numbers versus my usual style of eating intuitively.

MacroSpreadsheet
Ermagherd mercrahs

After a month of filling an Excel spreadsheet with numbers upon numbers, I had several insights:

• Tracking macros took more time from my life than I wanted. I like numbers. I really, really like them. (Just to illustrate: I used to calculate the tax, total, and change my mom would get back when she shopped at a store. When my mom would see a shirt or pair of pants she liked for 30% off, she would ask me to figure out the new sale price. She knew I liked the math challenges. Yeah, I was that kid.) Buuuuut I don’t like spending more time tracking my foods than enjoying them.

• I had to put true effort into eating enough protein some days. I could get a major jaw workout chewing through 1 1/2 servings of grilled chicken breast. There I would be– sitting alone at the dining room table, bent over this tasty but dense hunk of meat, the last thing left on my plate, turning cold, while my husband and dog had happily retired to the living room to watch a movie. #firstworldproblems

• Protein powder and bars became my quick and easy friends. This is not to say you shouldn’t strive to get protein through whole foods. I just realized that sometimes supplements worked for me.

• I was dragging big time during workouts. Pulling a deadlift equal to my bodyweight felt like the Heaviest Effing Thing Ever when it was easy as a hot knife through butter three months earlier. I needed more frequent and longer rest breaks. I just didn’t feel powerful going into any of my lifts, and I missed my nacho carb-ups at lunch on Leg Days. OMG because nachooooos.

4) Have I been eating vegetables?

Like, at all. I can look back on days where ne’er a green thing passed my lips.

I didn’t grow up liking vegetables. As a kid we didn’t eat them regularly at home. If they were ever offered in our local Luby’s line o’ foods, their bland presentation never tempted me. Forget it if the offender gave off a smelly odor. Not eating it, no sir-ee.

VegetablesMeme

Since then I’ve come to realize I never gave veggies a fair shot, especially with taste buds that had a history of #allthesodas, Hi-C Fruit Punch, Little Debbie cakes, donut sticks, and honey buns, and the like. I had to break up with those processed sweets, and over time I introduced vegetables into my life (nice to meet you!) and could finally appreciate their nuanced flavors and natural sweetness.


As I mull over the honest answers to these questions, I now have information that can be used to take action. If I’ve been making food choices on auto-pilot, these questions turn the spotlight on to moments that I could CHOOSE to do a little better.

“It’s lunch. How can I add some veggies? Ah, a side salad!”

“Do I reeeeeally need this bread pudding or am I full enough?”

“Hmm, there are not really any veggies in this beef stew. Is there something in the fridge I cook on the side?”

“Need a snack. Need a snack. Ooh! Apple and PB will do.”

“It’s been a carb-heavy day. Do I still have that Quest bar?”

“Ugh, I feel stuffed. I need to remember to set my fork down and just sit a while between bites.”

Sometimes the best course of action is a deliberately chosen one.

 

Featured photo by Liz West

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