I have (once again) made a commitment to focus on my health. Like many people, I get energized to work out/eat healthy and start off with a bang by jumping back in the gym and planning carefully selected meals. Then a few months go by, my commitment wanes, and then once again, I begin to eat out more and more and find excuses to avoid the gym. Sometimes life happens. Sometimes I lose focus. Many times it’s because I’ve gotten frustrated.
It happens. And it happens to us all.
Maybe you’re frustrated too. Maybe your frustration is something else. But I bet there is some change in your life that you’d like to make. And you’ve tried, but never really get past square one.
Not to sound too much like a cliche, but it’s never too late to start again. And that’s exactly what I’ve done. I’ve started again.
In the last two months, I’ve started making small changes. Nothing too dramatic. No big changes and not all at once. Just small, incremental steps. First I considered what I had been eating. I started slowly cutting out unhealthy choices. Do I really need a bagel in the morning? Am I snacking too much at night.
Next, I started logging all my food in a food diary. That really has helped me focus and make smarter choices. I used MyFitnessPal because it’s easy to use and syncs with the other apps I use (like MapMyWalk and my FitBit).
For me, logging my food has led to better habits, like packing my lunch, declining to eat out (oh sweet crepes with chocolate or nutella, how I miss you), and passing on treats (I work in an office where someone is always bringing in some kind of goodies, like Girl Scout cookies, chocolates, bagels, donuts). Do I allow myself to indulge? Absolutely. But I make my indulgences a conscious choice and schedule ahead which day I have a treat, and not because everyone else is going out to eat or because I’ve had a hard day or just because my sweet tooth is screaming at me.
Third, I’ve started wearing my FitBit again (his name is Frank. And yes, I named my FitBit. I name many inanimate objects because I do talk to them, and sometimes I have to yell at them. But I digress.)
I stopped wearing Frank because I had consistently hit 10,000+ steps a day. So I thought, why bother wearing it when I always hit 10,000 steps and I’d much rather wear my nice watch. Well, I realized that I reached 10,000+ steps a day because I wore Frank. (I’m terribly competitive with myself.) And when I didn’t have it on, I didn’t hit 10,000 steps. I learned this when I put it back on and the first few days I barely made 6,000 steps.
Right now, you might be saying that it’s too hard to start again. It’s too much effort to make changes. It’s too difficult because some life/work situation. Trust me, I know. I know all the excuses and all the reasons not to start. I have that internal struggle—oh, one bagel won’t hurt. And a little cream cheese, nah, that won’t be *that* bad.
Or it’s really cold outside and I don’t want to get sweaty then have to go outside into the freezing air, so I’ll go to the gym on another day.
Or how about, it’s okay if I eat out at lunch because I’ll work out later and eat a healthy dinner. (And then it’s been cold outside, so I don’t work out, and the cycle repeats itself.)
Trust me, I can be my own worst enemy because I can rationalize any excuse.
But I made the decision to do better. Then I told my friend AM, who is good about going to the gym and using her FitBit. So she motivated me to wear mine again and to keep moving forward. And we’ve motivated each other to pack our lunch and not eat lunch out so much. And then I motivated a co-worker to start taking a mid-day break with me to go do 20-30 minutes on the treadmill. Nothing fast paced. Just a walk to get moving and get more steps in. A 20-30 minute walk does make a difference. After the first time of going with me, she commented how much better she felt and that she was more focused for her afternoon meetings.
And that’s why, as much as I might be reluctant to admit it (because I’m all independent and can do things on my own), the best way forward is really to go with others. All the times I’ve tried to do it on my own, I’ve failed. But the times I’ve succeeded, I have succeeded because of others. Others encouraging me. Others holding me accountable. And me also doing that for them.
So for you who have also been struggling with health and weight, I invite you to join me. Even if you haven’t been struggling, it’s more fun as a group. So let’s do this together. Find me on MapMyWalk or MyFitnessPal or FitBit and let’s take a [virtual] walk together!