I’m a full on, bona-fide, if-there-was-a-sign-to-carry-I’d-be-carrying-it binger. Games, TV, movies, books; it doesn’t matter the poison when something sinks its teeth into my consciousness, I can’t not sit there for hours soaking up anything and everything to do with it until all information has been assimilated and I ponder what the bloody hell I’ll do to not feel the unflinching crawl of time now.
During these binges, my most recent being Mad Men (which is, frankly, excellent), I tend to let my health and well-being slide. And by slide, I mean I eat far more Domino’s pizza and garlic and cheese fries than is healthy. But every so often, especially after the weekend that was ArcadeCon, I become all too self-aware of this reliance on sweet, sweet junk food, and decide that a diet, cleanse and return to full workout is in order to give my body a break.
And every time is as tough as the last to get it going.
Getting the will together to actually DECIDE to workout isn’t the hard part – anyone can dream! Buy a pair of gym shorts and go for a jog once on a quiet Monday evening. Having the will to persist and draw up a diet plan and get a timetabled workout together takes genuine dedication. Like, sweat and tears and stuff. But that first exhilaration of feeling your body get rid of all that toxic but oh so tasty fast food is just lovely. Then seeing the pounds drip off you as your body destroys those first layers of fat actually makes you feel like the star of the next Magic Mike. Some broccoli and a bit of cardio? Sure, I can do that!
Diets Have To Be Followed
But, wait… I have to not eat fries and stuff, even when I’m out with friends? Even when we’re RP-ing for the first time in weeks and they’re ordering Chinese food mid-session? That’s… that’s just cruel. Unfortunately, most food places don’t have a menu section for ‘The One Person Who’s On A Diet’. The closest they have is usually some version of ‘Salad But Only Sort Of Because We Aren’t Sure Why You’re Ordering It From Us’. Temptation must be resisted and one must accept that eating apples while the rest eat Pringles and having a lunchbox filled with salad (or jaunting to the local shop to pick up healthy options) is in your foreseeable future until at least the first weight loss goal is hit.
Working Out Is Genuinely Painful
Here’s something you can only truly find out for yourself: when you’re getting into a rhythm for working out, your body will hurt basically all the time.
Well, okay, not ALL THE TIME, but a good deal of the time, at least. Your muscles grow through being stressed and then healed, and that stress means pain, and sometimes quite a lot of it. At the start, this is like the shock of jumping into cold water for the first time – there’s no way but to just do it. You have to accept that your body is being tested in ways it just isn’t used to and that means aches and pains in places that didn’t ache and pain before. That morning ritual of a cup of tea/coffee and sitting down contemplating where it all went wrong in life just became filled with your joints hating you now (but learning to love you later).
This doesn’t mean you keep working out in complete and utter agony; if the pain persists anywhere for more than a couple of days without reprieve, you should definitely seek some advice. But otherwise, get used to it!
And Repeat. Or Don’t.
Once you know you have a workout that works for you and a diet that keeps you satiated but lets you have a social life, then you just keep going. Over and over, getting yourself fitter, stronger and healthier. This is the ideal situation where you get a groove so strong you just stick with it ad infinitum, occasionally splashing out when the only option is a pizza because, damn it, you’ve earned it.
Or, like me, you keep crashing and find it hard getting it just right. That’s okay too! After every binge and every long weekend, there’s another chance for you to try again. You can fail as many times as you want; you only need to succeed once.
What about you? Any tips for getting over a weekend of pizza at a convention or eating out one too many times during a particularly long binge session? Let us know in the comments!