I wrote yesterday about my wonderful weekend at Blend Retreat, and how happy I was to be outside getting exercise with my friends. Honestly, exercise is actually something I’ve been stressing out a lot about lately. As much as I like to think that this weekend was “typical”, it’s really more typical of how I was last year. Lately, I haven’t really been as active as I would like, in part because I’m finding it hard to get into a routine and make healthy eating/exercise my norm instead of something I have to fight for.
I was talking about my diet/exercise routine with Adam today, and realized that I am being kind of a whiny baby about my weight/body, and being that person I hate who just makes tons of excuses. When I was traveling for work, I was in a pretty regular routine and found it really easy to hit the gym at 6am every day before getting to work at 8am (even if I was taking a different class every morning). Working out was just what I did when I got up, and I didn’t have to think about setting my alarm early to do that. However, I found it really hard to eat healthy with the variety of work dinners and late nights at the hotel bar… so I didn’t have the body I wanted. Now that I’m home, I’m doing a lot better on the eating front (at least when I’m eating at home rather than going out for social occasions). However, I’m really not getting into a routine at all when it comes to exercise. You would think that working from home a lot would make it easier to work out, but I’m having trouble getting into a groove since some days I have to leave home by 6:30am to get downtown for meetings, while other days I try to catch up on sleep and wake up five minutes before I need to be online in my home office a few steps from my bedroom. (I know, life is hard.) I know exactly what I need to do, but I am just not actually doing it 🙁
Adam-The-Wise made a pretty apt (yet obvious) point today: I either need to stop complaining about it and just accept that I’m a little bit less in shape than I’d like, or I need to do something about it and get into an actual exercise routine and diet regimen. Come to think of it, that is the same motivation I had all those years ago when I had a summer internship in Florida and missed all my friends: I reasoned that I could either quit and go home or I could find something productive to do with my summer, but that sitting around miserable was not the solution. And so I taught myself to run one mile, which turned into a 5K, which turned into a marathon, which turned into 50by25. Hooray for baby steps toward goals!
This time around, though, my head is just not in the game, and baby steps aren’t working. One day it’s incredibly easy to eat healthy and I am psyched to work out, and the next day I’m just like “nope, a quesadilla sounds damn good right about now.” I don’t know where my motivation for staying fit has gone, but the idea of having to actually work at it sounds terrible… yet so does the idea of not changing my drink-all-the-Colorado-craft-beer body. Can’t a girl eat her cake and burn it off too? (Answer: not unless I want to spend my summer in a muumuu.)
According to a recent survey by Balance Bar, 43% of Americans feel most balanced during the summer… so I’m hoping that my own food/exercise balances out by then too. For that to happen by June 21, though, I’m going to need to put some work in first! My friend Erika is running a “Hot Body Challenge” for June, whereby we all put $10 in a pot and then see who has the most points for healthy behavior at the end of the month – winner takes the pot. Each day, you get a point for tracking calories, staying under your goal # of calories, avoiding processed sugar, and working out (1 point for each 15 minute increment). We are logging all our points in a Google spreadsheet, and I think the competition will help me rev up my motivation (even if I don’t win). Or at least I’m hoping it will!
Gabby Reece, spokeswoman for the Balance Project, put out a list of tips for smart eating and staying active that help her feel more balanced and ready for summer.
• Make it your own: There is not one right way to get it done. There is the right way that works for you. When it comes to eating healthy, find the foods you like and implement those into your daily diet. The same goes for exercise. If you hate the gym then find something outside that is manageable for you. This is not about torture; this is about creating a lifestyle that you can do week after week. You can see some of my favorite fitness moves here.
• Watch the calendar: Use summer for motivation to shape up but don’t wait for June 21st. If you wait until summer actually starts, you’ll feel rushed and end up crash dieting or doing a crazy workout schedule. I personally like to keep a calendar in my kitchen and cross off the days as I countdown to bikini weather. The visual reminder – right where you eat – is helpful in keeping you on track.
• Sign up a friend: We tend to be more successful at accomplishing some type of exercise if we have an accountability partner. Solicit a friend and maybe use this as your time to connect. You can train for a 5k together or join an outdoor boot camp; there are a lot more options now that the weather is improving.
• Plan to snack: Take snacks (like fruit, nuts or a Balance Bar®) wherever you go to prevent mindless eating. If I have an afternoon or early evening workout planned, I make sure to have one of these handy an hour or so before so that I have plenty of energy to get in a good workout.
• Variety is key: Make as many meals as you can at home so you can control your nutrition. These are some of my favorite recipes – fresh and full of veggies for springtime! To keep things interesting and fresh at my house, I try to rotate foods. One night I may go for something heavier with veggies and grains, and then the next night focus on proteins. I really try to change up the food and create a great deal of variety.
• Each day is a new chance and it’s never too late: If you fall out of your summer shape up routine one day, don’t sweat it. Forgive yourself and move on – and just keep moving!
I especially love Gabby’s tips to “sign up a friend” and that “each day is a new chance” – both of which I am trying to address by taking part in Erika’s challenge. I am frequently guilty of all-or-nothing thinking, so it’s really important that I remember that each time I make counts. Maybe I need to re-read The Beck Diet Solution, which has a lot of tips for willpower that got me really motivated when I first read it several years ago. One way or another, I need to find a way to start getting more serious and committed!
Once again, Balance Bar has generously offered to give away a great prize pack… this time with the new Balance Bare Bars and a cute headband.
Check out the Rafflecopter widget below (if you’re reading this in Feedly/Bloglovin’/email, you’ll need to click through to enter); to enter, leave a comment telling me how you get motivated to get fit when you’re feeling as iffy as I am right now. The contest will run through Thursday May 28th at 12am MT, at which time a winner will be chosen by random drawing and contacted by email; the winner will have one week to claim their prize.
Note: Balance Bar provided me with a prize pack just like the winner of this giveaway will receive, but I received no other compensation for this post, nor was I pressured to write a positive review. All opinions expressed are my own, and in my own words 🙂