Tuesday, 23 August 2011

Brief update (nothing to do with pants)

The last week has gone pretty well.

It took me until Thursday to truly get back into the swing of things. For the first few days the intentions were good and I managed 3 trips to the gym but I tended to lapse with food either because I was out with work or because I'd eaten too little during the day.

Since Thursday I've been spot on and have also been slowly upping the cardio element at the gym. I'm now starting off with 35 minutes on the Concept2 then do 35 - 40 on the cross trainer. Its not running but I'm hoping its enough to maintain stamina.

On the running front advice was to drop the running for ten days and temporarily wear heel lifts to allow the tendon to heal more easily. It also means I've had to drop the habit of wearing flip flops or being bare feet a good deal of the time. The lifts and ban on being barefoot lasts for 4 weeks.

This advice came from a podiatrist I went to see. His view was that the switch in shoes was too sudden and almost certainly was the cause of the problems. He couldn't see any issues with regards to range of motion, leg length discrepancy or similar and said that I would be a natural mid-foot striker with a fairly rigid foot (sometimes incorrectly described as a supinator) and that I should always avoid any sort of support shoe. Ironic that in years gone by 'specialist' running shops have advised me to go for support and even motion control shoes.

So, fairly happy but there's a challenge the next few days in that I'm staying away tonight (therefore evening meal in the restaurant and cooked breakfast to contend with) and then Sue and the kids are away for two nights following that. I'm also hardly at home between now and Thursday evening and have an awful lot of work to fit in between. Today's train journey may afford some time to work out some strategies to meet those challenges.

Sometimes I cope really well with the temptations of being away but other times I fail spectacularly. What do others do?


Alison said...

Good news (I think) from the podiatrist?

I think the problem with being away is that the brain thinks "ooh, different", and this then opens the door to negotiation with yourself on routine / habit / food choices etc. I think the reason why routine works so well for people when it comes to training or weightloss is that it takes a lot of pressure off the situation, by effectively eliminating the decision making -- just do what it says on the tin. Follow the training plan; have the soup (one of my default weightloss strategies!); eat what's in the fridge (rather than going foraging for something more fun...).

Once you're in an alternative environment though the brain must subconsciously think these habits (rules?) are up for debate. I often sleep in later when I'm away, for example. Something to so with being in a different bed. It's no longer lazy...

If my interpretation of the problem is correct, then I think the thing to do is to go back to consciously reinforcing the routines and habits that you're trying to create as you would in the first day or so of doing it at home. I find it helpful to think in clear means-end terms: I want to lose weight, which is why I am going to choose the soup; I want to be more focused with work, which is why I'm going to go to bed at a decent time. It feels like babysitting yourself, and in my case, this leads to a temptation to brush this kind of thinking off as crude and immature. But I think sometimes we need to use a firm parenting hand with ourselves.

And as with anything, the more you practice a certain type of behaviour, the more second nature it will become. I actually discovered the other day that I'd quite like to lose a little weight, because I picked the soup...

~Jessica~ said...

I think Alison hit the nail on the head, and her comment really helped me with the insight into my own behaviours when my routine is shaken up (which will be really valuable when I'm in Cambridge) Routine is so important when it comes to making food choices and feeling secure in them: for me it's the anxiety of making the wrong choice which eventually makes my head go into overdrive and thus default into 'I can't take this any more, I'm just going to go nuts on everything in sight because there's no point and I've already screwed up.' Hence the problem with injury: even with online calorie calculators there's a hell of a lot of variation with what you need, and short of weighing every microgram of everything there's no level of certainty. Back in September 2010 when I was at my ideal weight, I had a set routine of exercise and food that I knew was appropriate, through trial and error rather than calorie-counting etc. But when one part of that routine (the running) was removed, the psychological boost from the exercise combined with the complete uncertainty over how to adopt a new routine sent me, again into a downward spiral of binge-restrict, and then into full-on bingeing, simply because I didn't know what to do and what my new level of 'normal/security' was.

I think trying to hit the middle ground (i.e one cooked breakfast instead of every day?) might be a good idea, or simply getting up earlier and finding a productive focus outside of the 'argh, I'm out of my comfort zone' mentality. It's very tough though: I don't think many people cope 'perfectly' with being away and travelling, unless they're at a Healthy Living Summit where there are morning runs and workouts organised for them ;) And, as Alison says, there's always the soup (something I always used to default to but completely forgot amidst my greasy vegan pizza and burger episodes).

Good luck!


Running Rob said...

Thanks both.

Yes, I think you've got it there Alison. I found being back at work made sticking to things easier - due to the routine.

Plan at this stage is to try and be vaguely sensible with choices this evening (maybe skip dessert) and similar with the breakfast tomorrow. Then I can go to the gym in the evening when I get home.

BabyWilt said...

I hope your train ride provided some strategies but if not Alison & Jess both have covered a lot of ground for digesting.

Sarah (everydaysapicnic) said...

Flip-flops are evil! I'm not sure, but I think I might have sustained my foot injury while wearing flip-flops last summer. I never want to wear them again! Ok ... rant over - I think everyone got that I hate flip-flops ;-)

I travel quite a lot for personal and work stuff and it is tough to be out of routine. I try to stay active (but not obsessively so) - walking plenty and maybe hitting the gym if there is one. I take some food with me for snacks and if I've staying with friends or family I sometimes take my own fruit and veg and other bits and bobs.

For breakfast I try to stick to two courses - a main and fruit, otherwise I'd be up to that buffet like a boomerang. I adapt to the situation - I'm more relaxed if it's a long weekend with friends and I try to be a bit stricter if it's work.

Maria said...

Hope the working away goes well (and interesting about the flat shoes/bare feet ban too- I notice if I wear totally flat shoes to work my feet feel a little weird when I get home)- anyway I think when you are out of routine it is sometimes hard to judge compared to normal- if you ate lunch out but had breakfast and dinner at home as usual then it is easy to compare and say "the bagel is like my normal sandwich, the apple is like my normal pear" etc, but when all meals are out it is harder to judge and compare. I used to take a notebook and write down what I ate if I was away from home, as those snacks add up and were easy to forget too. Also I try to avoid buffet breakfast things as I can get into the mindset of "I have paid for it so I should eat it"- I often take cereal bars with me and then get a banana in a shop or something. I try to eat normal food too- like order a nice salad instead of thinking that because I am eating out I should have something more extravigant, if that makes sense.

Rose said...

I can never quite understand why flipflops are evil? Surely barefoot is our natural state so flipflops are pretty close to that?

Anyway, I'm too late to advise on the coping strategy but the way I do it when I'm away is that I DO have the cooked breakfast but I decide in advance what I will have and make it much healthier...i.e. grilled bacon, grilled tomato and poached eggs for example.... I then counter that by having a lighter lunch. That way I get to have my treat AND eat it!!

Well done with generally getting back on track though. I always think that the first 3 days are the hardest and you've cracked that already......


tam said...

I definitely find going away a challenge sometimes I just embrace the "as I'm away" feeling other times I try to be really good pack healthy snacks and meals organized to the point of insanity! ha ha

Have a nice time : )