Last year I wrote a series of posts chronicling my training each week for the Marine Core Marathon in November 2012 (I will go ahead and wait for the hysterical laughter to end). The truth is since then I haven’t done a whole lot as far as training other than running a half-marathon in December. The reason for this is the Marathon didn’t go as well as expected, and keeping in running shape is almost impossible when visiting Churches or attending Missions Conferences (We are kind of obligated to have second helpings of dessert). In late Spring I actually did get myself back into running shape, but the summer with it’s heat and humidity kept me from running as much as I should.
A few weeks ago while taking the dreaded runner walk of shame (this is when your unable to finish a run and are forced to walk the rest of the way home) it occurred to me that this time last year I was running over ten miles every Saturday and quickly approaching a twenty mile run in early September. There was no denying it…there was a huge difference between August 2012 John and August 2013 John who struggled running four miles.
Usually situations like this make me depressed, which leads to eating junk food, and then (you guessed it) more depression. But this time instead of indulging in self-pity the thought of being out of shape made me angry. That anger became a commitment to start the long journey back to Marathon Training John (September 2012) who could run fifteen miles on a Saturday.
Step one on that Journey is always the hardest because it involves breaking bad eating habits that have been developed over months (and sometimes years). This is done by sticking to a VLC Diet (very low calorie) which consists of drinking protein shakes for two meals a day, eating healthy snacks three times a day, and nothing to eat after 7:00. The two week VLC diet is sort of a detox period that breaks addiction to junk food and soda, then allows new habits to be developed (drink water and eat fruit). The two weeks of detox also helps us deal with our anger issues since low calories=short fuse 🙂 It’s currently day three of detox and I am quite proud of myself for walking by the self-serve donut section at Wal-Mart (my favorite bad eating habit) and instead choosing a protein bar.
The VLC Diet is a reminder to me that for true change to take place, we must break our old habits. The diet itself isn’t really about losing weight (though I am) but breaking the habits that keep me from being Marathon Training John, like indulging in Wal Mart donuts. Two weeks is usually the amount of time that it takes to truly break a habit so my goal is to have myself reaching for an orange instead of sugar following the detox (though my brain will still want a donut)
I am light years away from August 2012 John who was training for a Marathon but the first step isn’t about training at all. I could probably go out and run five or six miles without the walk of shame, but for long term change to take place my whole eating style would need to be transformed. I appreciate any encouragement but do yourselves a favor and stay out of my way for eleven days…you won’t like me when I’m angry.