Getting back on the wagon

GOOD CHOICES Lack of sleep and poor planning make it easy to slip up and choose the wrong foods.

So … life had been going well. Really well.
I was feeling energetic from eating all the whole grains, lean proteins, veggies and fruits recommended by the USDA. I was really keeping the extras to a minimum.
And then—I fell off the wagon. I don’t mean just a little teeny leap off the wagon, I mean I catapulted off and landed in a muddy roadside ditch.
I could blame it on that tailbone injury I suffered back in February. And the fact that it took me nearly four weeks to just get walking again,12 weeks to get on an elliptical, and however many more weeks of physio to get back to my exercise routine.
I could blame it on that tailbone injury, but honestly, it’s not like I stuck to what I was supposed to be eating anyway.
After weeks of relatively good behavior, I had slipped. Even without realizing it, I slowly cut out the variety of vegetables I was having and started to add coffee. I had been drinking tea for months, and suddenly, found myself reaching for coffee energy.
The scale didn’t move much, but clothes started to get tighter. Some stopped fitting.
Why? Lots of things added up. Lack of sleep, plus change of routine, plus lack of willpower, plus not keeping track of what I was eating.
To fill the time that I could no longer go to the gym, I’d schlep myself to conferences, where food choices consisted of muffin or scone and coffee. So, I’d have a muffin. Or several.
I stopped tracking what I ate. Worse yet, I stopped looking at what I was eating, and instead of relying on the natural energy found in real food, routine exercise and healthy living, I relied heavily on caffeine. Which in turn, affected my sleep.
Lack of sleep is particularly damaging because it a) makes you too tired to care and b) increases cortisol, which makes you crave high-calorie salty and fatty foods. So, if you experience a lack of sleep, the ideal thing to do is follow the same eating routine that you’ve built. Except, of course, I was too tired to care.
Of course, what’s ingested has been ingested, and nothing can be done about that. I’ve been in the weight loss/maintenance game too long to try and compensate by starving the calories out of me. Especially on the cusp of the eating—I mean, the holiday season.
All that is left to do is learn my lesson and jump right back onto the wagon and continue doing what I had been doing.
Fortunately, when it comes to your own body, you are the driver of your own wagon. Even if you fall off, it will wait for you and respond when you take charge again.
So, I will be attending the different holiday parties that come my way, but I will be looking closely at what I’m eating. And I won’t regret the savory goodies or and the teensy (okay, not so teensy) sweet treats, because darn it—they sure taste good going down.
Neera Siva is a health enthusiast, mom, patent attorney and writer, in no particular order. She and her family live in Santa Clara County. Check out her website at healthierbites.com, or follow her on twitter @neera_avis.

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