This is Harder Than I Expected
By: TV Personality & Naturalist David Mizejewski
I’m a little over halfway through my six-month fitness journey with VIDA and it’s time for a progress report. It’s with no small amount of frustration to share that it’s been a lot more difficult to reach my goals than I anticipated and progress has been slow.
So far I’ve only lost and consistently kept off around ten pounds. I was hoping to be at least twenty pounds down by now. I’m disappointed and I’m angry at myself for not being able to reach my goals faster. I’m frustrated because though I’ve been working hard in my workouts and with my diet, it obviously hasn’t been hard enough.
But you know what? I’m not going to let slow progress derail me. I refuse to. In fact, I’m going to take a deep breath, reset myself mentally, refocus, and channel it into motivation. That’s the only option I’m allowing myself. Because as hard as I’ve worked so far, I know I can do more and better. I obviously need to.
In order to do that I’ve taken an honest look at what I’ve been doing these last few months to understand where I’ve gone off the tracks and where I need to focus more energy and discipline.
If you’ve read my previous posts, you know that nonstop work travel has been a real challenge. I’ve been pretty much constantly on the road, flying back and forth across the country for events, meeting and public appearances. That schedule and the exhaustion that comes with it are major contributors for my slower-than-hoped-for progress.
Even so, in February I still managed to work out fourteen of the twenty-eight days in the month by getting in sessions with my VIDA trainer Susie when I was home in DC, and utilizing my hotel gyms and doing workouts Susie gave me for the road. I worked out every other day and I was really proud of that. And guess what I had to show for it? I ended up losing the all of the muscle that I’d gained in December and January before my travel schedule got crazy. What went wrong?
VIDA Registered Dietitian Addie Claire Merletti helped me figure it out. Because I was so afraid of gaining weight while traveling and eating in restaurants for every meal, I ended up not eating enough, specifically not enough after my workouts, and the first thing to go was the muscle that I’d gained, not body fat. SO FRUSTRATING. But, lesson learned and on Addie’s advice I got a blender bottle and now I have a protein shake immediately after my workout to make sure I’m getting the right amount of protein and carbs to fuel my muscle growth and maintenance. (This one is my favorite.)
Then the month of March was pretty bad workout-wise. I got sick at the beginning of the month and that knocked me out for several days. Then I had more back-to-back work trips where I was scheduled dawn to well past dusk, leaving little time or energy for anything else, with no access to a gym. Friends and colleagues hosted dinners where healthy fare was scarce, and I overindulged. Then the stress of work and exhaustion caught up with me and I got sick again. All of that left me feeling demotivated. At one point I went an entire week without working out. By the end of the month, I’d only gotten in ten workouts.
The other thing that happened is that after diligently logging all of my food for two months to help me focus on things like portion size and proper nutrient balance, I felt I had a good handle on my diet and I stopped logging. That was a big mistake on my part. As Addie correctly pointed out last week at our most recent check-in, the stalling of my progress started when I stopped logging my food.
I don’t share all of this as an excuse. I’m sharing because part of this process is being totally transparent, which keeps me accountable. I’m also sharing my failures because I know that many of you have probably faced similar struggles and low points on your own fitness journeys, and I want you to know that you are not alone and that we can overcome them.
Crazy work and travel schedules, getting sick, and mismanaging workouts and diet are honest reasons why I’ve stalled in my progress. At the end of the day though it doesn’t matter what I call them–excuses or legitimate reasons—because the only option I’m giving myself is to fix them and keep marching towards my goals.