When Ambition Attacks!

I had a bit of a crisis moment on Tuesday. Now, I say “a bit of a crisis” because that’s what it was. It wasn’t a full-blown crisis, but it sure had the makings of one.

I’ll start from the beginning.

Over the weekend, we had the pleasure of spending quality time with a lot of awesome people. We had some friends over for dinner on Saturday, and my friend brought some truly excellent cheesecake brownies she made from scratch. They were delicious, and I had two small brownies which I immediately felt guilty for eating.

Then came Sunday, which was the Super Bowl. Traditionally one of my favorite over-eating holidays, I really tried hard to watch what I was eating. I had a salad for lunch (even though there was also spaghetti and meatballs) and a small plate of nachos for dinner. And, because there was homemade fudge sauce (oh my gosh Y.U.M.) I had a small bowl of low fat vanilla ice cream with fudge sauce for dessert.

Even as careful as I tried to be, however, I still went over my calorie goals on both days. According to my calorie counting app, I should strive for 2,000 calories a day if I want to lose weight.

Here comes the beginning of the crisis. Ever since my phone recommended 2,000 calories a day, I’ve been striving to keep my calories under 1,800 per day. If 2,000 calories a day means I’ll lose weight, 1,800 will be even better, right?

That right there is a slippery slope.

On Monday, in an effort to atone for my weekend excesses, I ate 1,163 calories. Yes, that’s right. 1,163. As in half of what I should have been eating.

I felt like crap. I was sluggish, had little energy, and felt weak. It was a miserable feeling.

The next day, I told Wes that I thought I might have the makings of a problem. The ambitious side of me is always going to want to push it. If 10 push-ups is great, 20 is even better! If 1,800 calories a day means weight loss, 1,600 would mean it even more!

I told him this is not a healthy way to live, and that if at the end of the day I tell him I’ve eaten less than 1,800 calories he needs to tell me to go grab some cheese sticks from the freezer to make up for it.

He promised me he would, and then told me he’d do me one better and yell at me to go eat a sandwich (which is what I always yell at the TV when an actress looks particularly skeletal).

I’ve always thought my ambition was an ally, like my own personal pet dragon that incinerates my problems when I let it out. I never thought it would turn on me like that. Well, this just goes to show you that you should never turn your back on a dragon. Or neglect your sandwiches.

5 thoughts on “When Ambition Attacks!

  1. When you go below a certain calorie threshold your body will actually respond by slowing your metabolism and jealously hoarding whatever calories it can, which can actually lead to gains. That’s not the technical explanation, but the bottom line is when it comes to working out/dieting there is definitely such a thing as too much (or too little) of a good thing. Google “starvation mode” and “calorie deficit.”

    If you want to be an overambitious striver, strive to hit your EXACT numbers every day. Or, if you must have numbers to strive towards, strive towards more reps or more weight in the gym, or faster speeds or longer times. You’ve got the willpower to write a novel in a month, so you’ve got the willpower/discipline/ambition to hit whatever workout or diet goals you set for yourself.

    As a footnote, guilt over not adhering perfectly to a regimen tends to snowball, so don’t allow small failures to give you an excuse for bigger failures.

    BTW, I never saw that novel. Nevertheless, I’m sure it will do great as you send it off into the big bad world!

  2. Urgh I think we have all been in that cycle of deprevation and punishment which is isn’t good.

    I want to you to repeat out loud 3 times, there is no such thing as bad food.

    Because there is no bad food, just food that perhaps you shouldn’t eat that much of. I hope above all your gym work is fun or at least will be. My workouts are generally about jumping around to bad 1980s and 90s music and the gym has ample space to do it!

    In the mean time this slide show might be of use to you:


  3. Even Michelle Obama with her program to get kids moving served things like wings, bratwurst, and cheeseburgers at her Super Bowl party. But that’s the exception to their diet, not the norm. This week it’s back to veggies and other healthy things.

    I can’t add anything else to dc and stef’s comments – they are wise people.

  4. Something I’ve learned from watching people diet is that when one loses weight extremely quickly, one is far more likely to gain it back! The body strives for a balance and pushes to stay at a steady weight and metabolism. So when you lose weight slowly and steadily your body won’t freak and will be happier staying at lower weights.

  5. Thanks so much for the gentle reminders of why starving oneself is a horrible idea, and the fun suggestions! You’re all so smart, I’m lucky to digitally-and-in-real-life know you!

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