This rut is NOT the middle ground I’m looking for!

I’m in a real exercise slump at the moment. After the exertion of the ride down to Seattle, and all the training I was doing before that, I thought “I’ve worked hard for a long time and I deserve a rest as a reward. I won’t do any exercise for a few days”. Suddenly weeks have passed, I’m stuck in a pattern, and I feel like a slob*.

Unfortunately, this is a recurring pattern for me – and not just with exercise. For example, I went on a very strict diet for a few months before my wedding. When it was all over, I thought “I’ve deprived myself for a long time and I deserve to indulge myself as a reward. I’ll eat whatever I like for a few days”. Suddenly weeks had passed, I was stuck in a pattern, and I felt fat.

This is bad and self-destructive and needs to stop.

But what to do? I don’t want to never allow myself any rewards, ever – but once I start to indulge myself, I find it very, very difficult to stop. Any excuse becomes a good excuse, even though I know I’ll feel a hundred times better if I tell myself “no it’s not too hot / too windy / too much hassle, just go for a run already!” or “you’ll regret the chips, ask for the salad instead!”

Why must my bad habits be so much harder to break than the good ones?!

Why can’t I find some middle ground between “training all the time” and “being a slob”??!!

Ah well, at least there’s no chance of me falling into the same trap at work. Rewards, rest, and self-indulgence? HA!!! The Sentient Grant of DOOM may be submitted, but all that means is that it’s time to catch up on all the other work that got put on the back burner during the frenzy!

*I’m still cycling to work and back, which is better than nothing but not nearly enough.

About Cath@VWXYNot?

"one of the sillier science bloggers [...] I thought I should give a warning to the more staid members of the community." - Bob O'Hara, December 2010
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15 Responses to This rut is NOT the middle ground I’m looking for!

  1. Ambivalent Academic says:

    I fall into this very same trap. My (so far moderately successful) strategy is to "reward" myself with some kind of *new* exercise routine. After training for something big like a marathon I'm pretty burnt out on running once the race is over, so I plan to start swimming(!) or something in the week following. I have to necessarily start out slow and easy since it's working different muscle groups, so it still feels like a vacation from the intense workouts. Plus, I don't even have to *think* about running again, maybe not even forever if I don't want to because of got shiny new swimming to look forward to. It also helps to plan another long-term goal (race? charity event?) for several months out just to have some extra motivation. Also, exercise buddies who aren't as burnt out as you are always seem to help.

  2. Anonymous says:

    Teamsports: A summer one and a winter one. But do you play well with others, or was that bastard of a primary/elementary school teacher actually right all along?-antipodean

  3. chall says:

    well, I've never been one to train for such a big event as you have (me= slightly lazy perhaps…) but I try to keep up with 3 times a week exercise… lately I ave increased it a lot and I know that it will only happen for 4 weeks and then hopefully I can go back to 3-4 times a week… although I am sure that I can end up in the slump again. Last year it was easy to end up there – just told myself I felt so good not going. THat isn't true but give my body 2 weeks to forget how much it loves being in pain from a hard exercise and I'll be the best couch monkey in the world.I've found this spring that my force to the gym works better when I put my times in the magic (although Swedish) website where it keeps track of your exercise and improvements. As always, if you can make graphs and % and stuff of it, I'm game. (such a geek ๐Ÿ™‚ )

  4. Bob O'H says:

    Oh poo. I thought this was going to be about another sort of rut.

  5. Nina says:

    try salsa!Or something else that is mostly fun, and as a side effect burns some calories. I hate the "fries vs salad" thing. The look on the face of the waiter/waitress after you hesitated for a second and then say "ehm, I guess … fries? Please? With mayonaise"

  6. Nina says:

    I probably shouldn't say this, but as I type this I am having ice cream for dinner. Sigh. So much for my "more veges" diet. I had veges at lunch though!

  7. Alyssa says:

    I definitely fall in to the same patterns. No advice, since I haven't found a way to stop it yet, but just wanted to say you're not alone!

  8. Cath@VWXYNot? says:

    Thanks everyone! It's always so helpful to hear that you're not alone!AA, I like that idea – a change is as good as a rest, and all that! I do have another bike ride coming up in a few weeks, but because it's "only" 60 km I don't feel the need to train – the work I did for the Seattle ride should be enough! I think I'll hit the gym and do some work on the rowing machine though, in preparation for my upcoming kayak trip (it's not perfect preparation, but it's pretty good).Antipodean, I enjoy team games on a casual basis with friends, e.g. we're all at the beach so let's play football! But I've had nothing but bad experiences with organised team sports, even as an adult. I was on an ultimate frisbee team a few years ago that was designed to be mixed ability, i.e. some good players and some n00bs. I was one of the n00bs, and admittedly my hand-eye co-ordination is laughable, but they were just so damn mean about the whole thing. Why join a mixed ability league if you're going to be like that?! They'd even let the count run down and hand the disc over to the other team before they'd pass to me, even if I was open. When this happened for the 2nd time, I quit. I've had somewhat similar experiences with footie. I'm not very good and I'm not all that (physically) competitive, so the kinds of people who are drawn to team sports really don't like to play with me.Chall, 3-4 times a week is really impressive! Yay you! I agree that our bodies quickly forget how good that kind of pain can feel. I like the idea of the website (I love graphs!), and the exercise log in my blog sidebar did help before. If I just exercise once, hopefully I'll remember the joy of the pain and of proudly updating the sidebar…Bob, sorry. Wrong time of year :)Nina, sorry to nix both the team sports and the dancing ideas, but I hate dancing that isn't of the "drunk and seeing a live band" type! Always have! Again, I'm really uncoordinated and I fall over my own feet and stuff.Enjoy the ice cream! I think after that epic field trip, you deserve a treat :)Alyssa, thanks! I'll let you know if I find something that works ๐Ÿ™‚

  9. Mermaid says:

    Ah yes, the post-event 'hangover'. It is hard to stay motivated after such a big event has come and gone. I always find that setting smaller goals in the future helps with motivation. Perhaps the idea of a whole new sport might be a good one? The Fall Classic is a great run, and has a 5km which is really fun. I think it is the first week of November? I could join you. Make myself a time goal to work towards after Ironman. Or perhaps work towards being able to swim a certain distance without stopping by a certain date? The new pool is supposed to open at the end of this month. Cool!

  10. chall says:

    Cath: I clearly don't have enough friends to go out with since I end up at he gym (but boy it feels good getting body feeling in some little pain ๐Ÿ˜‰ )I find the graphs helping if I just can track what I've done. The part I don't like, is the "you've done 50% of what you promised, you should be at 75%" .. that triggers my "i'm no good" but you can disable it ๐Ÿ™‚ Maybe you want that site and learn some Swedish at the same time ( ๐Ÿ˜‰ I'll be happy to translate…

  11. Pika says:

    Yes, I'm also the same and deep in the slob phase right now. Although you might say that I have a valid excuse by having a surgery 2 months ago, but still, that was 2 MONTHS ago, so I should have started doing something about it by now. Right?Anyway, I also like chall's tracking website, so might try that – it seems it comes in English, too ๐Ÿ™‚

  12. Anonymous says:

    Cath I can promise you that ultimate in the antipodes is a friendliest teamsport I have ever come across. You may just have hit a local pocket of gits.-antipodean

  13. Cath@VWXYNot? says:

    Well, I've discovered the cure! Injure yourself in such a way that you absolutely can not do any exercise, and then you will switch into a state where you really, really want to go for a run or to the gym, just because you can't. Perfect solution, eh?!(I went swimming without my beloved Keens, and kicked a submerged rock – hard – with my bare foot, cutting my poor little toes to pieces. Nothing but relatively minor cuts and scrapes, but TONS of them (including ones between the toes that hurt like hell), and I can barely even walk with shoes on (barefoot is OK), let alone run).Mermaid, I'm glad that even Ironman triathletes fall into this trap!Can I let you know about the Fall Classic after my next run? It's been sooo long, and I wasn't exactly loving it at the time… I'm very interested in trying the new pool when it opens though! Do you know if the gym will open at the same time, or at a later date?Chall, I might give Pika's English version of the site a try when I've healed up and can exercise again!Pika, I have no idea how long is reasonable in your situation – but you have a much, much better excuse than I do! Maybe you could start with something gentle – swimming, maybe? Just: wear shoes if you're in the ocean. Even if it looks sandy and you can't see any rocks at all.Antipodean, people seem to take it pretty seriously here. I do know people who've managed to find teams that are a bit more laid back, but I also used to hang out with people in other teams, and they took it really seriously and would moan about their teammates behind their backs if they weren't good enough. I don't like that, I just want to have fun and not care what position my team is in the league!

  14. microbiologist xx says:

    I do this ALL the time. Right now I am working out really hard and eating, well, better than I normally would, in an effort to fit back into my pre-pregnancy clothes. I have a feeling when I get there, I'll probably fall right back into that trap until my clothes get tight. This, of course, will start the cycle anew. Good luck!

  15. Cath@VWXYNot? says:

    Thanks – you too!

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