Weblog as Therapy

Weblog as Therapy

Weblog as Therapy

This weblog is many things. It’s the starting point for our amazing weblog book. Hopefully its’s entertaining, interesting, informative and useful. Some posts are fun, some are serious. It covers an eclectic range of topics, from baking to beekeeping, technology to triathlon or windsurfing to wildlife, it’s all here. It’s a journal of our life and it’s a useful resource for others and recently I realised that I use my weblog as therapy too.

My Weblog as Therapy

I was chatting to my friend Simon at work.  He’s a sports psychologist and we were reading through a recent weblog post of mine about how my training was going. It had been going really well, but I was annoyed as I had a cold and had been unable to train. It had only been a day or two without training but I was already worrying about it. [Note: It’s now been a week without any training thanks to the lurgy so my fears of getting fat and unfit are beginning to become true!].

Simon started to pick out some comments of note from the post:

I can feel myself losing all of the gains I’ve made already.

It’s only been a day of no training so far, but I feel as though I’m getting fatter and less fit as every hour passes.

Is this a sign of some sort of exercise addiction?

All things of interest to a psychologist apparently and we decided that by writing these these down it was similar to talking about them, getting them out there, airing my worries and that maybe using my weblog as therapy was a way of looking into the deepest workings of my psyche. OK, maybe that last bit was a little too deep, but it’s certainly something worth thinking about and maybe by reading back through my posts a little more often I can learn by my mistakes, build on my experiences and improve my psychological well-being.

Making Changes

Maybe also I should use what I can learn from this to make some changes as well. Based on those comments that Simon picked out above, it would seem as though I need to put strategies in place to ‘cope’ with setbacks. I wouldn’t say that I’m not coping, but maybe with a better strategy and by using my weblog as therapy I could put things in place to make more of such setbacks.

Setbacks and interruptions to a training plan are inevitable. Illness such as the cold and chest infection I’ve had can’t be avoided, injuries, work, family and life can sometimes get in the way and disrupt your carefully crafted training plan. When such things occur it can feel as though all is lost and you are back to square one. That’s how it’s feeling to me at the moment, but from experience I’ll know that I’ll bounce back fairly quickly.

The first thing I did as noted in the blog post was to rearrange my training schedule. That in itself was a positive thing to do so that I still had a plan that had taken into account this setback. That was helpful, I kept control, but looking at my comments and what has happened since, what I really need is a strategy to keep my nutrition on track.

No Gains Please

In theory, a week of illness and no training should have a very minimal impact on my training progression. OK, there may be a week or so of recovery involved after such a setback, but generally people such as myself tend to train too much anyway so being forced to ease off for a bit is often a good thing. Where it all goes wrong for me is the eating.

3 hours less exercise a day accounts for a huge percentage of my calorie expenditure. 3 hours extra time for eating a day actually allows for more calorie intake as well. I just can’t stop myself from eating and the quality of my diet slips too. I’m feeling sorry for myself and comfort food is just too easy to come by. I’m burning 2,000 fewer calories per day but I’m eating an additional 2,000 calories, that can only mean one thing and that’s unwated weight gain.

No Junk

No Junk

I’m using my weblog as therapy here, so next time this happens I need to make sure I have a strategy in place to prevent this. Maybe just some ‘No Gains Please’ signs on the fridge and cupboards will do, but I need to do something. Over the past week I’ve gone from 67kg to 73kg.

I was quite happy with my 67kg weight and was hoping to get down close to 65kg before the inevitable gains of Christmas, but that’s not going to happen now. There’s no point getting upset about it now though, I’m using my weblog as therapy, so I have to accept what it is, decide to learn from it and see where I can go from here. With a work Christmas dinner, a dinner for my birthday and no doubt birthday cakes coming up this week, more Christmas meals the following week and then Christmas itself, losing weight over the next few weeks is going to be difficult. There’s no point setting myself unrealistic goals so maybe I should just be aiming for ‘no gains please’.

There we go, once again I’ve used my weblog as therapy, I’ve thought about my problems, worked out what actually causes the issues and have made some realistic goals based on that. I still need to come up with some suitable strategies to make sure I achieve these goals but I’ve taken the first steps by airing it here and using my weblog as therapy.

Simon – how’ve I done with my self psychological assessment?

4 Responses

  1. mum says:

    The Psychology sounds good to me and don’t forget training etc should be fun…..Well in my case of course that would mean no exercise at all, look at the damage I did just clapping!!

  2. Simon says:

    Not a bad job, Alan, ha ha ha. Yes, writing a weblog is similar to diary-keeping, which is well known for its therapeutic quality, albeit with an obvious difference in privacy! Some would prefer to keep these thoughts to themselves, some to share; but with what you have at stake, Al – a challenge that requires mega commitment and the ability to self-regulate one’s behaviour in the face of competing drives and desires – it makes sense to enlist the help of others by first telling them about it!
    That brings me to my main suggestion for the eating issue over Christmas: first, ensure all ‘treats’ are in difficult to reach cupboards or at least out of your most direct and frequent eye line (and even then, placed behind healthy alternatives), so that it becomes more difficult to succumb to your often unconscious desire for certain foods; next, get everyone else on board – maybe they’ll avoid buying certain foods, maybe they’ll eat their treats out of your sight, maybe your bday cakes can in fact be healthier alternatives…are you coming to the SES Christmas dinner? I’ll *not* have pudding with you!; third, yes, put up messages to yourself (and others) in prominent places so that the message seeps in and gradually convinces you to avoid undesired behaviours; finally, presuming you return to health, and I realise that all your training burns big calories, but can you not temporarily alter your training activities to be even more directed by that aim, before returning to your regular pattern in the new year? Oh, and can you insert certain foods &/or supplements into your diet over the next few weeks to assist with fat burning/metabolism? I’m sure you know what foods/supplements will do that, legally of course!
    Ultimately, if you can exert self-control all year, and just look at your past achievements in the athletic domain for proof, then you can at Christmas, and you’ve also proven your ability to cope with setbacks even when they occur. Don’t worry about it, and continue to use your weblog as therapy!

    • Alan Cole says:

      NO PUDDING!!!!! Are you insane?? 🙂

    • Alan Cole says:

      Thanks Simon, all good advice of course and I will try to be a little careful with my food consumption over Christmas. However, I also really like this time of year and quite enjoy indulging too. I’m a bit of a foodie, I like cooking and baking, I like trying new things and I just like food, so it’s all a matter of balance. This weblog is all about our work-life balance really and we get it right most of the time. I have to get a food-training balance as well, whilst at the same time enjoying life and enjoying Christmas. As you well know, if the commitment and desire to do something isn’t really there then no amount of help from others, notes to oneself and hiding of treats is going to help. I have to be honest with myself and I don’t think I’m fully committed to having a Christmas that maximises my training objectives in lieu of Christmas goodies.

      My strategy for Christmas is to enjoy it and to enjoy the extra food as well, without being stupid. Yes, I’ll eat too much, yes I’ll gain some weight, but I’ll console myself with the fact that as long as the damage isn’t too great I’ll be able to get it back under control come the New Year. I may lose out a small amount as far as reaching my maximum potential from a performance standpoint is concerned, but I’ll still have a good Christmas. If I can keep up the training intensity and volume then hopefully I’ll not end up huge! Maybe a relaxation of the rules for a while and a little lack in focus over Christmas will only allow me to tackle things head on with renewed resolve and greater commitment come 2016.

      Now, where are those mince pies!! 🙂

      Al.

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Alan Cole

Alan is a Freelance Website Designer, Sports & Exercise Science Lab Technician and full time Dad & husband with far too many hobbies: Triathlete, Swimming, Cycling, Running, MTBing, Surfing, Windsurfing, SUPing, Gardening, Photography.... The list goes on.

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