The first year I attended college, I lived on campus and the convenience of having a gym within walking distance helped me stay in shape. Every day, I would either run 2 miles or do a half hour on the elliptical, then I’d work out a specific body part and finish with 30 minutes of Pilates. Winning at life.
The second and subsequent years I attended college, I commuted. Which led to copious amounts of fast food, increased road rage and a lack of time to work out amidst working a part-time job and studying. So, fitness went by the wayside. Since college, I’ve gone back and forth with my fitness. And I’ve learned something: I’m an all or nothing person.
What does an all or nothing person do? Well, if there are Starbursts in her desk, she snacks on them throughout the day. If her husband buys Oreos, she eats an entire sleeve of them and tells her husband he can never, ever, under any circumstances have cookies in the house EVER. But. It also means this: If she begins an exercise regimen, she does it every day religiously. If she begins to count calories, she recognizes what she’s been putting in her body and makes drastic changes. So, five months ago, when my pants didn’t fit and I had to overcome the guilt of leaving my son to work out every afternoon, I faced two choices. I could channel my all-or-nothingness toward the bad things or the good things. Thankfully, I’ve made a lifestyle change in the right direction, I’ve become an all-or-nothing person when it comes only to the good things, and I’ve learned the art of health, fitness, and moderation.
I’m by no means an expert at fitness nor have I run a marathon, but I wanted to offer some lessons I’ve learned and some tips concerning health and fitness other than my really lame post about some of the healthier meals I’ve eaten lately. So here goes:
2. You can eat what you want. ONCE IN A WHILE.
As I said, it took at least 4 weeks of avoiding the “bad stuff” for me to slowly add it back into my life. The other night, my husband and I went to a local restaurant for Taco Tuesday and then got frozen yogurt afterward. I didn’t need to top off my cup of froyo and I didn’t need to fill it with chocolate chips and Reese’s peanut butter cups and marshmallows and all other kinds of calories. I was satisfied with an insanely smaller amount than I would’ve had a few months ago.
3. Exercise makes you feel better, healthier, and more energetic.
On the days I’m dragging, I force myself to go to the gym. I literally was falling asleep on my way home from work today, but I went to a spin class and BING I’m wide awake and I feel great. Despite the whole not being able to walk properly thing.
4. Find a gym.
Or, at the very least, an accountability partner to exercise with. I have friends who take their jogging strollers to the park with their babies after work. I have friends who attend kickboxing and Pilates and spin classes on a weekly basis with me. Whatever works for you, do it.
5. Don’t make mommy excuses or allow guilt to stop you from paying attention to your fitness goals.
If I have to put my son in childcare at the gym or leave him with my mother-in-law and I’m having a mommy-guilt day, I do a quick 20-30 minute run and get back to him. He barely knows I left.
6. Set small goals. When you reach one, set another.
This made a HUGE difference to me. Initially, I told myself if I could fit into my pants, I’d be happy. Then I said, “Let’s make it 10 pounds.” When I reached that, I decided I’d try 5 more pounds and I’d start measuring inches and focusing on lifting weights. Adjust your program as you go. YOU ARE WORTH IT!
7. Eat healthy snacks and don’t skip meals!
Fueling your new routine and keeping your body craving all those good for you foods is important. Planning ahead to have healthy snacks on hand is very important.
8. Use apps like myfitnesspal!
As we’re so busy, being able to take with you a tool to help track calories and exercise can make staying healthy more feasible. There’s no more excuses when it comes to deciding what to nom on when you’ve got a tracking device at your fingertips.
What about you? What tips or lessons have you gleaned to help you stay focused while putting fitness and health as a top priority?