Here's what we are going to do - enter into a contract with yourself. Let's be honest, when it comes to fitness, we all have at least two personalities. There's the no-limits, dreamer. That version of you is the one that watches the Olympics or the Victoria's Secret Fashion Show and promises yourself you are going to run 10-miles per day and never eat again. This version of you has tunnel vision straight to the results. Then, there's the realist. The realist knows his or her limitations. The realist knows when he or she is not a morning person. The realist knows that gym memberships only end up draining the bank account, because frankly, you're not a gym person. You are going to bargain with yourself to come up with the most workable plan.
Original Language: I will never eat sweets again. No alcohol. I will run 30 miles per week.
Self-Reflection: Dear Self, you love sweets. They make you happy. Also, they are okay in moderation. No alcohol is fine. You don't really like to drink anyway. You do like to have glass of red wine with your girlfriends sometimes, though. Thirty miles per week? In this heat? You're crazy.
So, Step 1 is to have the inner-dialogue. Figure out your hard boundaries and your soft boundaries. Your hard boundaries are things you simply refuse to do or not to do. For example, I refuse to give up dessert completely. It is non-negotiable. However, I can find healthy, Diabetic friendly recipes. A soft boundary might be running in the morning. It's something I am willing to try, but I know I still need to figure out the morning blood sugar thing. Also, consider what you like. Are you a gym person? Do you need the accountability of a personal trainer or buddy? Do you need variety? Are you a DVD person? Can you stick to a routine like Insanity or P90X, or do you always quit? Is yoga for you? Are you a morning person? Do you rely on the internet? Are you working a lot? Take inventory of your likes and dislikes and establish your boundaries. No one knows you better than you. If you create a realistic, personalized plan, then you'll stick with it. Take the two versions of yourself and come to a meeting of the minds. (Note, you don't actually have to write this down unless you are OCD and that is the only way it will happen). Decide whether you want to tackle diet alone. Do you want to tackle fitness alone? Do you want to attempt both together? (recommended, unless you need baby steps, which is fine).
Step 2 is to get organized! This can be so fun! When you look at your digital calendar, how do you plan your life? Day-to-day? In weekly chunks? Monthly? I love the weekly unit. I find it just right to get myself organized. I will make my Pure Barre appointments for the week. From there, I figure out which days to run (usually based on the ten-day forecast), and what will be my rest day. What works for you? From there, if you decide to write it down, decide how you want to do it. You can look up printable schedules and print them. If you are super-creative, you can make your own printable. You can simply use your iCalendar. Whatever works for you is the best approach.
Step 3 is to get inspired! What or who inspires you? Olympic athletes? If so, watch the Olympics before a scheduled workout. You'll think of what they go through and feel like you can conquer anything. Personally, I am inspired by magazines and blogs. If I know I need to run one day, but I really want to sit on the couch, then I may download the latest issue of Shape Magazine and give it a read-through. Usually, the combination of pictures and motivating stories put me in the right frame of mind. Also, a less-than-stellar post-prandial blood sugar can send me hoofing it out the door. I check into my favorite blogs. For example, Createlive's latest blog post totally inspired me! It helps that I know these girls, and their fitness enthusiasm is contagious! It is a great resource for recipes, workout ideas, etc. I plan on keeping that weekly log she showed us. Finally, if you don't have a Pinterest and you're a visual person, get one. I have a board for fitness, food, and Diabetes. I mean, I have a ton of others, but these are what keep me inspired!
Why did I think of this? I am tired of people being discouraged by diet and exercise. If someone told me I had to give up sweets altogether, I would be a miserable person. Anytime I have tried to do that, and I am around people eating dessert, I imagine myself slow-motion-tackling those people into a wall out of savage food-envy. Hence, the hard-boundary. By having an honest conversation with yourself, you can learn where to cut corners. You learn your own pace. You know when it is time to challenge yourself more. You know when you've breached the contract. You know when it is time to renegotiate. So, create a reasonable plan. We have this one life, and it should be a healthy one. NO MORE QUITTING BECAUSE SOMEONE ELSE SET YOUR STANDARDS.
July is almost over. Start in August. Please, PLEASE keep me posted. Truth be told, you can inspire people.
After just a two-miler, I was a sweaty mess.
But my post-run blood sugar was well worth it :)