I almost knew this would happen. I consider my challenge to be over. I was doing really well this week, and then on Thursday, I got really sick. I had a sore throat from hell, a nose like a dripping faucet, a pulsating headache, and no energy whatsoever. I was coughing violently, with my chest heaving and my whole body convulsing, every other minute.
I hope that trying to be healthier didn’t cause my cold; hopefully it was mere coincidence. Either way, things took a turn for the worst once I got sick. The next day, I had a major binge. One very bad day is all it took to turn making my food goal this week into being so far off that there was no way I would ever make my goal by the end of the month. There was no way I would even be close. It’s astounding and heartbreaking to see how just one enormous binge can ruin an entire month’s worth of effort.
The first few days of being sick, walking home from work completely exhausted me. The thought of doing a moderately intense workout was laughable. That being said, I did do all four of my 30-minute workouts last week, although one of them was simply a brisk walk because I really couldn’t muster up the energy to do anything more. Fortunately, I had done two of my normal workouts before I got sick, and I did the last one on Sunday, when I was feeling a bit better.
When I was thinking about what to do with this last week of my Healthy Life – Happy Life Challenge, I realized I had two options: 1) try to restrict myself as much as possible without triggering a binge in order to do as well as possible, or 2) let myself eat what I want without worrying about calories.
As much as I wanted to complete the challenge and prove something to myself and inspire others to do the same, I decided to go with option 2. This week, I have to attend two farewell lunches with my coworkers and bosses, a BBQ lunch for law school orientation, lunch with my parents, and an end-of-summer celebratory dinner with my boyfriend. The ultimate objective of this challenge was to make me happier, and the thought of trying to count calories at every meal, balancing out calorific restaurant meals with meagre breakfasts and dinners, feeling guilty for not picking the lowest-calorie option on the menu or finishing the whole meal or ordering a drink, and being hungry at night or as I wait for lunch did not make me remotely happy.
Given how much I have already eaten today, I know that I will not even be close to my final food goal. I wouldn’t even be surprised if I finish this month at a notably heavier weight. As long as I am still eating more than I need, the weight will keep piling on. However, I will try to still meet my fitness goal. I’ve surprised myself in this area; I thought I would fail this goal too. Knowing that I am physically able to exercise four times a week is a handy bit of info for me to hold onto once school starts.
I shied away from doing health challenges in the past because I knew I probably wouldn’t be able to complete them. I didn’t like the idea of feeling pressured or guilty for not completing them or not doing well. I place enough guilt and blame on myself as is. So that is why I am going to just let this failure go. I am not going to stress over it. I am not going to beat myself up. Instead, I am going to enjoy my last week before returning to law school with my family, friends, colleagues, and boyfriend, and I am not going to hold back.
I hope that I didn’t disappoint anyone, but for what it’s worth, I did learn from my experience. I learned that continually moving forward in my recovery is a hard enough challenge for me. And rather than tackling another month, I am going to take this challenge – the challenge of freeing myself from binge eating disorder – one long day at a time.