I was just thinking this week that if my weight loss “journey” came to life as a personified being—it would be a woman with raging mood swings. I’ve noticed lately that my journey seems to have a pattern of success and defeat. It seems almost clear to me now that after 4 or 5 weeks of progress, I am almost predestined to happen upon a week of utter destruction.
If you’ve followed me over the past month or so, you will know that I recently experienced a great run! While I hadn’t actually lost any weight, I had stopped gaining. I may not have seen progress on the scale but progress was happening. For the first time in a year, I managed to build consistent exercise back into my life. I made it through 4 solid weeks of daily exercise and according to science that is long enough to create a habit. Research says that 21 days is how long you need to make something automatic. 4 weeks is 28 days. And I had totally succeeded! Exercise was no longer a chore. I was actually starting to enjoy it. I had settled into a routine again and I was starting to feel empowered. I was even building back in good habits with my food. Starting to finally get a grip again.
And then came week 5. Like a bat out of hell. With almost no warning, I woke up void of all inspiration. No desire to work out. No desire to eat right. More than that—I was almost filled with a level of NOT caring that seemed to grow. It wasn’t just that I couldn’t muster up the energy to keep on the routine I had established. It was as if I had become possessed by an alternate personality who actually DID have desires—and it was to annihilate my progress. This mood was pretty adamant that nothing I did mattered. It wasn’t depression. It wasn’t anxiety. It was just pure, unadulterated apathy. Total lack of concern. Utter disregard for my goals. And then came the donuts. The chips. And a fog laden with the crumbs of yesterday’s snack cakes and wrappers that shall remain unnamed!
What happened?? It was like I totally didn’t care! Not a lick of guilt could I even muster up. I walked into that grocery store with not a shred of indecision in me. I was going to eat what I wanted with a smile on my face and enjoy each bite like it was my last supper. I didn’t even hide it. My former sugar injected enemies would be placed in full sight on my kitchen counter for the world to see.
“That’s right!”, I declared to all who entered my lair—“I’m eating it! And SEE IF I CARE!”
The children tip toed around me most of the week. Unsure if this personality was just a visitor or if she had come to stay. Happy for the most part that brownies had appeared but hesitant to eat them since they could see I was on some kind of food ‘trip’–and yes I mean THAT kind of trip—-the one with sugar highs and rainbow skittles. Marshmallow clouds and moon pies. But soon I would come down and crash. Returned once again to reality. Apathy replaced with regret. My body aching with the effects of junk food flowing through me. My pants screaming at me for relief and crying out that we were on our way back to elastic if this trend continued.
Finally my senses returned and I feel as if this spirt of rebellion has been exorcised. But now I am left with a week or so of destruction. About 5 pounds added to the scale. And some progress undone. I have to ask myself—“What happened?!”
As a woman, I could look back and make sense out of this if I had been on my period. Hormones often take control of me during these times and make my hunger so ravenous that you’d think I’d been starved for weeks. But that wasn’t the case. And yet it mimics it so well, I can’t help but find comparisons. I’ve been thinking lately that my weight loss journey on its own seems to go through cycles. Much LIKE a woman on her period. Forgive me for having no other comparison that makes sense. But that’s just how it seems. I go through 4 or 5 weeks of progress almost always followed by a week of utter abandon. As if I am destined to never be able to get past week 4 or 5 without a fall. Without meeting the inevitable cliff. As if week 4 or 5 is automatically programmed to cycle me through some violent mood swing that threatens to derail me.
I’ve never thought much about it but looking back now I can see it clearly. Every time I get on a roll, I seem to run out of steam around week 5. Almost like clockwork. I suppose it’s time that I start expecting it. Instead of being surprised by this mood storm, I should start boarding up the windows and taking cover when week 5 approaches. Preparing myself like someone would for an approaching tornado. Building a cellar underneath my house and seeking cover when the winds approach.
What is up with Week 5? Why is that every 5 weeks or so, I take a dive. Its probably always been this way but I never really noticed the pattern. A month or so of progress followed by a nasty spill. Am I the only one? Or is this some kind of wall we hit when progress is being made? Is it something that can be explained? Or is this just simple mental sabotage? Is it boredom? Is it psychological? Or is something happening physiologically around week 5 to make my body flip out and rebel?
These are the questions I ask myself this Monday when I face a new week. The aftermath of my crazy madness that week 5 brought. I don’t know what causes these mind flips. I just know they happen. And I should come to expect them. Today, I felt defeated but a shred of hope had returned. I was once again pinged on my phone by the news that Allen had walked his dog 0.03 miles. It took them roughly 7 minutes according to the notification. Yes..that’s right….I reminded myself. It doesn’t take much to get going in the right direction. I pulled up my Leslie Sansone Walking to the Hits DVD and determined to walk at least as far as Allen’s dog! I ended up doing 2 miles. It seems some energy and motivation has returned. I am feeling more like myself. No more of that weird Stephen King like mist from the movies where it causes you to act like you’re crazy. Buying Food Lion out of all their snack cakes and shooting sideway glances at the clerk in case they tried to judge you for a cart filled with nothing but junk! Nope–the mist is gone. Back to my right mind and hoping the next 4 weeks can undo some of the damage.
But I’m putting crazy town on the calendar for the next week 5. I’m going to arm myself this time. Ready to rumble when the mist returns! And in the meantime, I’ll keep putting one foot in front of the other. Giving my crazy to God and asking Him for wisdom when it returns! The power to cast out Brownies and call down fire upon Cheetos!
May the force be with us!