If it’s not one thing…

I have pretty great baseline fitness. I’ll pop up and run a half marathon every 4-6 weeks, be sore a day or two, and move on. I’m scrappy. I’ll try anything, and I know how to kick my own backside.

So what’s the problem here?

No more can I blame Mellow Little Person for a lack of “free time” to go work out. We have an amazing nanny who takes care of him when I am working at home. No more can I protest that I am tired (I am, but it’s mental at this point.). MLP sleeps straight through the night and has for a year.  No more can I say that aches and pains get in the way; I know how to work around all of them.

I think that I still make these excuses because I want very much to be good at what I do. Undeniably good. So I stick to what I know, what is comfortable, what is familiar and easiest. I am reluctant to dive in to a new regime (writing, eating, fitness) because I am scared of a dramatic fail. And as you might have read, generally I am very low on the drama scale, so this feeling is uncomfortable, awkward, and I try to avoid it.

I think I need to redefine success and failure. I think most of us who have trouble sticking to a new plan need to readjust our goals and expectations. Slight paradox at work here: to make a dramatic change in body composition, one has to make dramatic changes in both intake and activity level; simultaneously, the most successful and lasting changes are the changes that you can sustain, that are tenable, that are do-able, that are possible.  

Help? What is going to work: big huge changes you make for 3 weeks, get a temporary reshaping, dropping 5-10 pounds that come back after 3 more weeks, or little changes that add up that you can maintain for the rest of your life, letting your body reset itself to the weight it needs to be and improving your health in the process? I can almost guarantee you the latter is better and more humane. 

1) Pick up some type of exercise that gives you joy,gives you endorphins, makes you crack up, or allows you to clear your head. Find time once a week to do that exercise in a class format or on your own for ANY AMOUNT OF TIME. Example: Tried Zumba. Kind of was hilariously bad at it, but was laughing and sweating the entire time. Willing to go back because it was a lot of fun.

2) Pick one strength training move you want to learn, or improve. Do it every other day. Example: I am working on a great old-school squat. 

3) Choose one aspect of how you eat that you think should change and change it slowly. Example: Add a vegetable to dinner, or stop sweetening one of your cups of coffee or tea.

4) Add a burst of activity somewhere in your day. Example: Take stairs two at a time, skip across a parking lot, or march with high knees while waiting in line at the grocery store. If you get strange looks, explain that you couldn’t get to the gym that day.

5) Look more at people walking around in the world and less at images of bodies in media. With few exceptions, the featured body type is underweight (women) and built up, but lean (men). Look at the bodies of people you love. Love them.

6) I’m no Pollyanna (seriously though, what’s wrong with Pollyanna? That character was badass!) but I highly recommend stepping out of the negative thought spirals before they take you down. Recognize them for what they are: obstacles you can neutralize. If you think “I’m weak”, replace it with “I want to be stronger”. If you think “I’m too fat” replace it with “I want to feel comfortable in my body”. If you think “I can’t” replace it with “I’ll try until I can.”

7) Do something for someone else. Anything kind. There is a difference between addressing your struggles (self-preservation) and getting laser-focused on your problems and your problems alone (self-involvement).

8) If you absolutely must make an excuse, own it, and move on. 

9) Read about other people’s experiences that are different from your own. This will often break us of our excuses.

10) Be grateful.