Highs and lows and a new revelation

Amazing: Getting to do a tasting at one of the top restaurants in Dallas. I’m a lucky girl!

Awful: The way I feel this morning after consuming all that food and drink. Ugh.

Last night, as part of a major team celebration, we got to go to Abacus, which I’ve heard for a long time is phenomenal (spoiler: absolutely true). Like any good dieter, I checked out the menu in advance to see what healthy(ish) options were available, made sure to get a workout in that morning instead of relying on when I was done, and planned to pass on the alcohol (I didn’t need it, and I’d be able to appreciate the food more anyway if I didn’t drink). But you know what they say about the plans of mice and men…

I skipped the pre-dinner cocktails at the bar, so that was fine. But when we sat, the group decided to get the nine course chef’s tasting, with wine pairings. It was a case where I really couldn’t object – either the whole table had to do the tasting or no one could do it, so I didn’t feel comfortable ruining everyone’s fun. Not to mention, the tasting menu sounded incredible – even if I had the choice, I don’t know that I could have passed it up!

But this morning, I woke up feeling awful. My stomach ached from all the buttery deliciousness that I’m not used to having, and I felt like I wouldn’t be able to eat another bite for days. All I wanted to do was lie in bed until that feeling went away… but the gym awaited, and today of all days was not one to skip. So I dragged myself down there, and forced myself to do something, anything.

After recently reading Rachel Cosgrove’s article on Top 5 Ways to Gain Body Fat, I’ve been really bearish on steady state cardio (yes, that finally clicked for me!), so on days that I’m not lifting, I’ve been sticking to foam rolling and intervals. I’ve since learned that intervals are tough – regardless of how far I used to go or how sweaty I thought I got on the elliptical, that was no workout compared to the all-out sprints mixed with rest that I’m now doing. I vowed to avoid steady state cardio going forward (well, except for marathons – speaking of which, race report from Saturday is in progress, but may even be double posted later tonight).

Today, though, there was no way I could stomach the effort for intervals – not feeling the way I did. Of course I didn’t realize this until I was already down at the gym and had no chance of going back to sleep… so I ended up just pedaling away uselessly on the elliptical, bringing my heart rate up a bit (130s) but not really getting a true workout in. Fortunately, assuming I get done with work at a reasonable time, I’ll have a free night tonight – so that will be a good time to work hard. I know I can’t burn off the calories I consumed last night (3000? 4000? I couldn’t even begin to guess), but I can work hard today and also try harder to make the right choices going forward.

Rather than beat myself up for the indulgence, I’m focusing on the positive. Last night was an incredible dinner – I’d put it in my top 10 list of meals – and I really had an amazing time. That said, I’m also grateful that this type of extravagant team dinner isn’t an every night occurrence (like it was on the project I did in Boston back in 2008, when I first tried calorie counting), but a once-every-few-months-at-most thing. I keep reminding myself that occasional indulgences are fine, and so far, that reminder is working. While I still feel stuffed and not-so-great, I’m not beating myself up mentally, and I’m pleasantly surprised at how I’m able to shrug last night off and not stress about throwing my calorie count way out of whack. It’s a setback as far as weight loss, for sure, but I’m genuinely glad I went and enjoyed myself – and I think that shows that I finally have struck a healthy balance with watching my numbers.

And with the fear of going overboard gone, now I can focus on keeping a close eye on those numbers. I know what I need to do, and seeing that I’m not going crazy this time around makes me so happy – it means I can stop being cautious and really be strict with myself and what I eat. This will happen!


  1. I think one of the hardest things about dieting and counting calories is to really find that balance between real life and your goals. I don’t want to live my life afraid of one night of eating an amazing dinner, but I also know that it’s a slippery slope for me and my rationalizing ways. It’s a constant struggle for me.

    It sounds like you’re managing it in a healthy way, though.

    I bet it really was a fantastic meal!

  2. I think you should be proud of yourself for a few things:

    1. For not being so crazy, strict, obsessed with your calorie counting that you allowed yourself to live a little, and enjoy yourself with some good food and friends.

    2. For jumping right back on the working out and eating healthy train. Its so easy to let a night like that derail you, but it doesnt have to!

    I think that those things are key: Letting yourself splurge now and then, but not letting it get you off track for a few days, or weeks. You’re doing great!!

  3. Thanks, Lydia and Brittany! I am just so excited that I’m not obsessing like I did the last time around – I’m not really sure what exactly has changed, but it feels great :)

  4. Hey, Laura, something that makes me nervous after having read that article you linked at Rachel Cosgrove’s site is the warning about daily cardio. I just started the training plan for my next marathon (October 7), and it has me running 5x week. That’s not EVERY day, but it’s close. I hope at least the variety of runs works in my favor, though I don’t really do intervals until around week nine, where I’ll alternate between Yasso 800s and tempo runs. Before that, I’m supposed to do a “hill” run 1x/week, easy runs 3x, and the long run 1x. Do you think doing resistance training 2-3 times a week would help off-set the effects Cosgrove warns about?

  5. Mir – Rachel warns AGAINST doing marathons, so clearly I am not following that part of her advice :) I think it’s worth noting that a marathon is not necessarily the best way to get in shape, but rather, its own goal. Does that make sense?

    As to your question about routine – I think the variety is definitely going to help, and the resistance training will especially help you build muscle that will burn more calories on a regular basis. Furthermore, while she warns against steady state cardio, I also don’t think it’s quite as dire as she makes it sound in that article. I wouldn’t suggest necessarily changing your training plan just to fit with Cosgrove’s plan – your plan is for a marathon, whereas hers has a different endgoal.

    Does that make sense?

  6. Laura, yes, that makes perfect sense. I’ll follow my plan and just make sure I can get resistance training in there. Advising against marathons! Pfft! ;)

  7. I am with you. It is really hard to grasp the concept that the “steady cardio” state isn’t the best for weight loss. Intervals are hard and effective but I still need at least one long run a week.

  8. Hi Laura!

    I feel like you were really still hard on yourself for splurging, even though logically you had listed the reason why you shouldn’t be. Hopefully you won’t be so hard on yourself in the future. I think you are doing a great job of balancing everything.

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