The Big Picture, Part 2

Earlier this month I riffed on the idea of the Big Picture: the idea that there is no “perfect” at any given moment (check out last Friday’s blog for more on that), but we can always do something, right now, that gets us out the door and moving.

This has been a really good month, now that I’ve put it out there into the blogosphere that I’m committing to an hour (give or take) of intense exercise (the kind that makes it hard to say more than a few words at a time because my heart rate and breathing increase with the effort), every 48 hours of my life in 2014. I track my workouts here on the site, and also on a big, beautiful running-themed calendar that I found late last year tucked into a corner of one of the local bookstores.

Every day, a step forward. And a few celebratory stickers for a visual reminder of successful steps taken.
Every day, a step forward. And a few celebratory stickers for a visual reminder of successful steps taken.

Every day that I train, I put a notation on that calendar. The red stickers mean I went to the gym. The green stickers meant I did a workout in the great outdoors. The yellow stickers are for my hot yoga classes. The fruit stickers are for the days when I ate well. (Two of my favorite guides for eating well are the Weight Watchers program <full disclosure: I lead two meetings a week for them> and Matt Fitzgerald’s excellent book Racing Weight – both programs identify the healthiest foods for us and lots of great ways to prepare them.)

This is what Monkey Business looks like at Chez Every48. Cop to it, figure out what I did wrong, move on.
This is what Monkey Business looks like at Chez Every48. Cop to it, figure out what I did wrong, move on.

And the monkey stickers are for the days when there was a little too much “monkey business” going on. In other words, days when I didn’t eat so well – usually because I talked myself into believing that because I had exercised that day, or the day before, that I could indulge in a slightly less-controlled way and “be okay.” All that usually happens in that situation is that I feel sick afterwards – and a step behind.

But I try to look at the big picture.

If your goal is long-term weight loss, good nutrition is a must, because food provides the building blocks of our bodies, and the quality of those building blocks determines a whole lot of what our overall health is going to be.

We can’t just “exercise it off,” in other words (though I sure tried, and was mildly successful at it, in my teens and twenties). We can’t “make up” for a bad diet with good exercise.

But even on the occasional “monkey business” day, I look at the Big Picture. I used to have all manner of unhealthy foods in the house. Today, I don’t. When I’m hungry now, I eat brown rice, and ahi tuna poke from the local Asian food market, and whole grain toast, and dark chocolate instead of milk chocolate, and…just better choices, even when it’s “too much” at any one particular moment.

This month I’m exercising more, so I’m hungry more. Makes sense. So my challenge to figure out what works for me, nutrition-wise, to fuel my body and feel healthy. It takes real effort. but it’s worth it. So when I struggle with the big picture when I work out and then think I’ve “earned” a big meal that maybe isn’t the very best choice for me, remembering how far I’ve come is a huge help.

So that’s the Big Picture. It’s January 27 and I’ve run a total of 86.2 miles (in 12 workouts) this month towards my Boston Marathon training. I’ve taken two hot yoga classes and one vinyasa class at my gym – I need to do more yoga, so that will be a February goal. I’ve biked and swum at the gym too, but didn’t do anything super-fun like a Zumba class, so that goes under the “February goals” column too.

Not perfect. Never will be. But progress.

The 12th man was alive and well yesterday morning in Renton, WA! Great way to break up a long run and make some new friends.
The 12th man was alive and well yesterday morning in Renton, WA! Great way to break up a long run and make some new friends.

Yesterday’s #Every48 workout: A super-fun run down to Seahawks headquarters (6 miles), then hanging out with the 12th Man to send off the team as they headed to the Super Bowl, then finished up the run (1 mile more on the road, and 7 back) – total of 14 miles.

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