What to Do When You Feel Yourself Backsliding on Your Diet and Exercise Journey, as I Have

This is my foster dog, Athena. You’ll see why I’ve included her as the feature photo on this post below. In the meantime, enjoy her beautiful face! And hey, if you’re interested in adopting her, she’s available for adoption! Just visit Louie’s Legacy here.

If you came to this blog post (thank you!) looking for answers, sorry, I don’t have any! I want to put that disclaimer out there at the jump. As usual with my blog posts, which I call “musings,” they are a way for me to think through my thoughts and to organize them into something approaching coherence.

To that end, I originally thought about titling this, “What to do when you’ve hit a plateau.” Because I thought, I’ve hit a plateau with my work outs on the FitOn app. But actually, plateauing would suggest I’m doing something but seeing little to no change. Instead, the last time prior to today that I used the FitOn app was Nov. 5.

In fact, I turned the tea kettle on to make chai and was about to write this post when I thought, Why not break the inactivity and workout now and then write about it? So, that’s what I did.

I did functionally three ab workouts, but one was specifically a traditional ab workout, while the other two were targeting the arms while having the benefit of helping the core. Those three workouts amounted to about 26 minutes of my time and for good measure, I did the mind-calming activity (for me, at least!) of cleaning the dishes and taking out the trash.

See, I knew this day and this blog post was coming. I’d been largely good for more than three months, attacking myself mentally and physically in a good way with medication, therapy, dieting and activity. All of which was working. There was bound to be a bit of relenting, especially with added pressures of vacation and Thanksgiving this month.

Heck, my therapist even warned me recently to expect to hit a plateau and to be frustrated or demoralized with my results. Of course, again, that would suggest I was doing workouts. Now, to be sure, while I did have days where I’m sure I exceeded my usual calorie counting (2,330 calories) and other days where I cut it exceedingly close, I still haven’t slipped off the wagon on calorie-counting via MyFitnessPal.

Which is why I can say I’ve only regressed to gaining two pounds I had lost, going from about 153 pounds at my last weigh-in at the top of the month to 155 pounds as of today. I’m frustrated. But it’s not nearly as bad as my brain expected (I was expecting to be back over 160 pounds).

There’s all kinds of reasons I can put at why I stopped regularly doing FitOn after Nov. 5:

The way my brain works, I often get really into something, then fade out of it. Or jump from one hyper-focused thing to the next. I have a hard time balancing. So, like, I was really into FitOn, but had neglected reading physical books. Then I got into a stretch recently of reading physical books and not doing FitOn as much. Or whatever the case. I struggle with the balance.

I already mentioned Thanksgiving and vacation (when I went to Missouri), as not only reasons where working out becomes an easy “out,” but eating bad, too. And drinking. Beer has always been a bad one for me, too.

And, as the picture attached to this post indicates, I’ve even thought, “The dog has messed up my rhythm!” Look at me, blaming a dog! I’m going to hell. I’ve had the thought though and I’m being transparent! She cracks me up because it’s like, I sit at the chair and she wants to be my cuddle buddy. I pull out the yoga mat? Let’s cuddle buddy on that. I appreciate her love so much and no, it is not her fault that I haven’t worked out since Nov. 5. Yes, I have to mildly adjust my workouts when she’s roaming around on the yoga mat and under my feet, but I still did it today!

No, it’s just the usual: It’s hard to get motivated sometimes.

But you know what scares me far more than the usual things that would?

Yes, I’m worried about going back to square one and falling off the wagon completely. I’m well aware of statistics about how easy it is to drop X amount of weight and within X amount of time, put it all right back on. I worry about that.

Yes, I’m worried about backsliding too much on my fitness goals because I know how much progress I’ve made on my flexibility and how good I feel in a physical sense. I’ve noticed how much skinnier my face and stomach are and how looser my jeans have become.

Mentally though, that’s where I worry the most about the rubber meeting my brain matter. I know how much all of these tools have helped me come out the other side of depression and suicidal ideation and I worry about even letting one of those tools, like FitOn, slip, could mean backsliding on that success.

And I don’t know if it’s one of those placebo things where I’m overthinking it and expecting to backslide if I don’t do it, so it becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy that I do begin to backslide, but I have noticed my mental health backsliding some in the 22 days I didn’t do any FitOn. Being aware of that seems like a good thing, but still, I worry.

(As I review this post for spelling and grammar errors, I also feel like I’m exposing myself for how much I worry, ha. It makes it seem like eating right, working out and such is stressful, but it really isn’t as stressful as it may seem.)

By backsliding some, I mean noticing my moods dipping more than usual, noticing intrusive thoughts slipping in more than they were, and yes, even the lingering suicidal ideation still slips in there for a (very) brief stay at the Four Seasons of my brain.

So yes, I needed to get back on FitOn not only because I enjoy the physical results, but because I know the mental ones.

Again, I don’t have any answers here or a natural ending place; I’m just musing through my journey, as I have on prior ocassions.

What finally pushed me to break the cycle and work out today? A little bit of that fear perhaps. Some of it is my approaching two-year anniversary of my kidney surgery. And some of it is … whimsical. That’s just me and there’s no getting away from it. I’m a whimsical, no rhyme or reason kind of person. Today is a day that ends in “y,” so I decided to end the cycle. That’s how it goes.

I hope you find your rhyme or reason to break whatever cycle you need to break, or no rhyme or reason and still break it.

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