Well, Day 12 is coming to a close, and I decided to take the day off, both from exercising and dieting.
Many weight-loss plans suggest an off day or meal here and there. The old Weight Watchers, way back before they started the point system, suggested a meal off each week. Body for Life, which I happen to think is the best, most complete nutrition and fitness plan around (if you ignore all the attempts to sell the mostly worthless supplements that you really don't need), suggests a full day off each week.
I had thought about waiting until Easter to take an off day, but decided now, after 11 solid days on the program (and about 16 pounds lost), to take an off day, and then take another one on Easter (big family gathering and lunch planned that day). Afterward, I'll probably do two weeks or so before another one.
Why are off days important?
Well, for a number of reasons. On the exercise front, this would have been a cardio day today. My plan was to do cardio today, Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday this week. Now, I'll do Monday, Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday. So, overall, I won't be doing any less cardio.
My legs were a little fatigued after this past week, and I know from experience (remember, the KING of yo-yo weight loss and gain), that it's okay -- even good -- to be worn out and sore from hard work, but when you start to feel that fatigue that comes from repeated use over days, it's time to take a break. Besides, even the best workout programs will tell you that the rest and recovery from exercise is as important, if not more important, than the actual exercise. And, since one of my sisters thinks I need to take it easy because I'm old (even though I am the baby of the family), I'll now be able to tell her I took her advice.
As for the food, when you say off day, a lot of people immediately think "pig-out" day. An off day can be that, but you have to be careful about pigging out -- you can undo a lot of hard work if you really, really go overboard.
As much as an off day is a time to eat a little more, or some bad stuff you can't eat on the strict healthy days, it's also a time to just relax. On my eating routine, I plan out my meals, measuring and weighing the food, keeping track of what I'm eating, when, how many calories, how much protein, and so forth. That will get even stricter a month or so down the road, once the initial weight loss has slowed.
So an off day can just be a break for you mind as much as anything -- not worrying about planning the meals, measuring everything out. Just eating.
Did I eat too much today? Yes. Though today's too much was far, far less than I would have eaten in a normal day just a couple of weeks ago. My off day for food consisted of a few cookies, a couple of pieces of pizza, and a trip to a Mexican restaurant for dinner.
Along with a banana for breakfast, that's all I had today. I have to say, though, even though I got a smaller meal at the restaurant than I usually get there, I was still STUFFED afterward -- I've gotten used to eating smaller meals!
But, off day is over. I'm cooking and planning out the food for the week, and tomorrow morning I'll be at it again.