I've been trying to slowly change how I approach eating, fitness, work, and play. I remember being in my 20's and boldly declaring to the 50 somethings around me that "Life is too short not to eat what you want." Oh, how I wish I could eat those words. Yup, back then I didn't really have to worry about it. Now? I love to cook. I love to entertain. I don't like the gym. I do feel better when I work up a sweat though. And I feel better when I avoid processed foods. My goal this time? To be a real "loser." I am aiming to lose my old habits and shed some weight while I'm at it.
- No absolutes: I am not giving up because I have gone off plan. I am learning to get back on the wagon with the next meal or snack. I used to just get frustrated with myself and give up, but these days I'm simply not falling for that excuse. Each bite of food is a choice. Sometimes I choose immediate pleasure over long term goals. So what! No one gets out of shape or fat from one meal or one day on the couch. I don't have to be perfect to get to my goal. No matter how many times I heard that advice, I never seemed to listen to it and incorporate it. This time feels different.
- No faking it: I am not as active as I want to be partially because I haven't felt like it. It's cold and gray out. The few times I went walking with friends in fall (5+ miles) I overdid it. I paid the price the next two days. I am learning to find my limits and push them slowly. It's not a race -- its a complete transformation of my lifestyle that I'm after. Now some people follow "fake it 'til you make it" and it works for them. I just feel like an imposter dressed in spandex when I go that route!
- Portion control: This one has always been a challenge. I've always liked good (healthy) foods, but I also enjoy things that aren't as healthy when consumed more frequently. So bread, wine, and cheese are not completely out of the picture, but now I'm trying to take a portion and then stop. It's particularly hard when friends keep filling your glass, but I can always get up and move the glass, right? And a glass or two on the weekend isn't really bad for you. It's the daily drinking (calories and dehydration) that wear you down.
- No daily weighing: There are two camps on the subject of weight management. Some say you should weigh yourself daily and accept fluctuations, others say stay off the scale and just go by how your clothes fit. I have decided that once every few weeks is good enough for me. I get discouraged when I hop on daily, and I also know that it's easy to get comfortable and simply blow off the metrics. Hopefully, I will see movement in the right direction.
I do like these ideas and am thinking about incorporating them into my daily routine.
- Use a pedometer: And wear it EVERY DAY. I have a Fit Bit. (Actually I had 2 but the first one I lost and then the second one? I jumped into the pool with it. Mere hours after it arrived in the post. Yup. Luckily for me, I tried a zillion tricks to dry it out and I got it working again.) Truth be told, when I wear that little tracker I feel like I have to move more. Psychological mumbo-jumbo it might be, but on the days that I'm slugging, I take it off so that I don't have to see how lazy I've been. Isn't that telling?
- Start the day with exercise: I know many people who put their excercise needs before coffee. Some swear by meditation. I've done that in the past and have been successful with it. In the winter, not so much. But when it is quiet and the sun is rising? I love being outside to wake with the world. As the snow melts here, I find myself longing for those 6:00am morning walks. (I tend to rise and pick up my iPhone. Probably not the smartest thing to have it next to my bed! And don't be snarky, I bet you do it, too!)
- Make a playlist that lasts as long as your workout should last: I read this somewhere and I'm just making my new list. The idea is that if you say you have 45 minutes to exercise then make yourself a playlist that starts out slow (to warm up,) gets faster and peaks, then slows down again for the cooling down period. Over time, your brain learns to associate the rhythms with endorphins flowing through your body. I have no idea if this will work, but I'm game to try anything to get me out and more active more often.
My goal isn't to be rail thin. I'm pretty healthy but I want to feel better in my clothes. I want to sleep better, stay more alert, and live more of my life outside. So, are you as bad as I am? What are you doing to motivate yourself to change your life?