How to feed your pet writer…

I never met a donut I didn’t like

A long time ago (last year), I did what writers do all day (no, not haunt Facebook).  I’d sit on my butt and write.  And while I was writing, things would appear next to me.  Slices of cake (especially slices of cake), donuts (oh, the donuts), cookies, pretzels, crackers, and of course, the ever present cup of coffee.  I would go through about ten cups of that stuff per day.  Of course, I wouldn’t drink it all, about half of each of those cups would sit and get cold, the cream coagulating on the top.  Even so, say five cups of coffee–that’s a lot of coffee.  And something started happening.  I developed what’s known in some circles as Writer’s Butt. 

It happens to everyone if they have a very sedentary job, especially creative types.  I’m an emotional eater.  So when my heroine is going through a tough time, and she’s all worked up, I go through those emotions with her.  I start munching.  And that slice of cake would give me such a rush.  I would feel sooo good, on top of the world.

But… butt.

When I hit my mid-thirties, no longer could I eat endless doughnuts and cake.  Over the last two years, 20 pounds crept up on me, and they seemed impossible to conquer.  Twenty pounds on me doesn’t really look like a lot, and I was thin to begin with, but even so, I didn’t like feeling unhealthy.  Things were starting to wear on me.  So I decided to take control of the situation.  Here are a few of my tricks:

1) Find a buddy.  Better yet, find some buddies.  A lot of people on the ROW80 loop post their fitness challenges, and I myself am doing a competition with a friend.  We have prizes every month, and a grand prize in October, when we hope to be done.  Having a friend to talk you through tough times, to give you some tough love, and to encourage you is priceless.  Even just someone to bounce ideas off of can be helpful.

2) Don’t try to lose it all at once.  I know I am guilty of this one.  The first week, I killed myself working out, and at the end when I weighed in, I hadn’t lost a single pound (as I said, I have a very hard time losing weight).  It felt so discouraging, and honestly, I felt like giving up, I felt like it was impossible.  I worked through it, however.  I moderated my workouts a bit, and kept experimenting with my eating habits until I found something that worked.  And gradually, pound by pound, it’s coming off.  Don’t get discouraged by how slow it comes off.  You are changing habits, and that takes a while.  you can’t accomplish a life change in a couple days.  The slower it is, the higher likelihood that you will stay with your new habits and you won’t fall back on your old ones.

3) Protein is your friend.  Seriously.  Eggs (I like hard boiled, because I don’t have to worry about any sort of oil or butter in the cooking), nuts, yogurt, etc.  These foods can actually help you lose weight.  They give you energy.  I don’t know about you all, but mid-afternoon, I hit a slump.  I used to grab some coffee at this time (and every now and then I still do, but no one’s perfect!), but rather than going for the cup of joe, try grabbing a handful of nuts, or 6 oz. of yogurt.  I find it gives me the energy I need to finish the day.

4) Goodbye, cake…  Except on special occasions.  I found that carbs really prevent me from losing any weight, even whole grains and the things advertised to be healthy.  I have done a lot of experimenting with this, because believe me, I am a girl who loves her bread.  But unfortunately, the only times real weight loss occurred with me is when I all but cut the carbs out.  I don’t do the whole Atkins thing or anything.  I just try to be sensible with it.

5) Eat breakfast.  I never used to eat breakfast, but now I have a cup of yogurt or a Rise bar.  It’s made a big difference in my energy level.  Plus, I don’t overeat at lunch, feeling like I am starving.

6) Exercise.  Sure, it might bring you maximum results to do 45 minutes of hard workouts every day.  But I find that moderate exercise from time to time throughout the day, and just being more active during the day, makes a difference.  Take a walk with the kids or dog.  Or turn Erasure on and have a dance party with your son or daughter (mine really likes this).  Just get your blood flowing.  Taking a break from writing from time to time will also help you avoid RSI related injuries.

Do you have any tricks that help you stay fit?  How do you avoid Writer’s Butt?

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