TALES FROM THE TRAIL (AND SOMETIMES THE ROAD TOO)

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Tuesday, November 27, 2018

Thanksgiving Epilogue

I know for certain these two things about myself: 1) I am a sucker for a routine. And why wouldn’t I be? Routines have proven to give great returns. I am focused, accomplish more and am generally more content if I follow a regular routine. 2) I am productive, have greater energy and am clear headed when I spend very little time consuming food (& when I do eat it’s high fat, lo-carb).

As soon as you mess up my routine, with things like pesky vacations, I start to flounder. Ha! ha! I love vacations; I even think that I need vacations. Just recently I was camping for three days, and then wham, it’s Thanksgiving – which meant (besides a really wonderful time with family) a feast with desserts. One of the things that is so relaxing with my way of eating is that I can always partake in the celebrations if I chose. And I do chose, but when I do nowadays, I consume much less calories than I did in my youth during celebrations. When you never IMG_5397ever eat potatoes, you can only eat so much when you give yourself the occasional treat. The same with pie – I ate a lovely slice of pumpkin pie on Thanksgiving, but it only took a thin slice with a few dabs of whipped cream to do the trick (& even that was too much!).

The thing with these celebration routine interruptions is they need to be quick. If they are quick, I bounce right back into my routine and get back to my “regular” diet. I feel fine, my energy is good, and my weight is maintained, and even overall on the downward trend (which is my wish). I know that quick interruptions are okay, and even desired, from experience. But I have been watching (& very closely!). And this is what I have found: my diet affects my mental condition. Note that diet and routine are very closely related. When I change my routine, my eating habits naturally change. Inevitably, my eating window changes and my macros fluctuate too (for various reasons when a routine changes). In a nutshell, when I move away from a low carb diet, darkness moves in. I see everything in a different light when I change my diet to include carbs and desserts. High fat, low carb, I roll with the punches. I keep busy, and I try to move positivity even if things are fucked. When that changes, I don’t want to get out of bed. I feel hopeless and sad. I am 53 years old, and only now do I fully understood how much diet affects my mood. Vacations and celebrations need to be quick.

So! Back to the subject, which was I took in a hell of a lot more carbs during Chimera and then Thanksgiving than I am used to. And that was due mainly to my routine changing. Even though I knew the depression was coming, it didn’t help me any in recognizing it.

After Thanksgiving, I had three days to get out and hit trails. I didn’t. I slept in. I got a few things accomplished, but not nearly as much as I had hoped. But on the good side, I got to see more of my oldest son who was home for Thanksgiving break. Friday evening, I knew that it was time to get out and put one foot in front of the other. As dense as it seems that I am sometimes, this I have realized: I MUST WALK (or drive, or run, or move in some manner!). I walked with my husband down to the harbor to take in the Christmas lights. The lights were beautiful, especially their reflection on the water. Total miles on this night time stroll: 2.4

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Walking even a short bit did wonders, but I was back in the same funk pretty quickly. Not having fully shut-off the carbohydrate spout, I knew that I had to at least take the minimal step to get back to a routine. The easiest step was to shorten my eating window – it wouldn’t change my melancholy mood immediately, but it would be a step in the right direction. While I did that (shortened my eating window) I tried to focus in on what was bothering me. Aside from all personal tribulations that I do not wish to list here (because though life is wonderful, it also sucks to the same extreme), a main problem is my list of things to do is enormous. ENORMOUS. I had been crossing things off that list during Thanksgiving break – but not nearly as many cross-off’s as I had intended. Step 3 in getting back into my routine (step 1 being shorten my eating window, and step 2 get out and move) was to focus in on this list and start crossing things off. That helped immensely.

And then ice cream set me back, French vanilla. And I really only ate a tiny amount, but a tiny amount times two. (Oh, but it was so creamy, rich and delicious!) That certainly didn’t help the melancholy blues. So, Saturday night, I headed out again for another walk to the harbor – this time solo, and adding a bit more in distance from the night prior. On the way back up the big incline on Golden Lantern, on a whim, I decided to run. I picked a spot and pushed until I arrived, only tiring at the end (it was uphill after all). I was amazed that I was able to do it even for that short distance. Total miles for Saturday evening’s walk: 3.75

Sunday, the last day of my vacation, my mood was minimally better. Then out-of the blue (and really out-of-the-blue, as I had actually lay down to nap!) I decided to go for a run. Not a walk, a run. It wasn’t that difficult at all, which was really surprising. Thank God I had the wits about me to get out and get moving. It did wonders. Total miles run: 4.04.

I’m not back to my “regular” self. Needless to say, I am stressed. Slowly but surely (because that is my manner), I’ll climb out of this funk. I’ll climb out of this funk, just in time for Christmas vacation. On the good side this time, I was sad enough to actually go out and run, not hike-run, but RUN. And for that, I am thankful.

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