Do you have a bucket list? You know, a list of things you want to complete during your lifetime.
A friend was just posting on Facebook about having completed one of his bucket list items. He was celebrating a birthday and was updating his bucket list. It was inspiring to see all the things he had achieved and to learn about the things he still wanted to accomplish.
I've kept my own bucket list for years now. It includes items that are both professional and personal. I try to review it once a year and map out which ones I'd like to work toward achieving in the next year. It's thrilling to check items off. Especially ones I've had to work long and hard toward. Things I once thought were not possible, now are with the proper planning and training.
In reading my friends list, I got to thinking about how his act of sharing his goals enabled me to cheer him on in his pursuit. How much richer his life was because he was involved in it, rather than just letting each day pass him by.
Think about it. We love to see others achieve things they've worked toward. It's why the finish line of a race is so exciting. The looks of exhaustion, excitement and joy as participants cross the finish line are priceless. Especially in endurance races like ironman triathlons or marathons where participants have put in long hours of training. We want to see them succeed. No matter how they finish, they've achieved a goal many others have not. Their personal win encourages us to reach for our own goals.
I've never shared my bucket list with anyone except my husband. Maybe out of fear (see an earlier blog about that from a few months ago!). Fear that others will laugh at my goals or tell me how unachievable they are (by the way...this only spurs me on to prove you wrong!) or how I'll respond to others if I don't achieve them. But as my friend showed me by sharing his list, I also lose out by not getting all the support friends and family can provide along the journey. Most people want to see you succeed. They want to cheer you on and see you cross your own personal finish line. It's the reason most people lose weight best and keep it off the longest when they have a support system or group in place to help when their own personal motivation is lacking.
Life is a team sport! And the finish line is that much more enjoyable when friends and family are there celebrating your success with you. Its the journey of achieving things you once only dreamed of accomplishing. And allowing that success to take you on a new adventure.
Ask my friend. The numberous posts he received on Facebook were all positive, encouraging and supportive. I can't wait to hear about his latest achievements and what he's ticking off next on his bucket list. And if I can help in anyway, I'll be there!
What's on your bucket list? Don't let fear hold you back, trust that friends and family will be at the finish line to cheer you on. Dream Big! Then revel in the achievement of that dream when you check it off your bucket list.
So here goes! Here's MY current bucket list:
1. Complete an ironman triathlon
2. Complete the Hawaii Ironman
3. Run a mudrun
4. Compete in an adventure race
5. Go spelunking
6. Ice skate at rockafella center
7. Take piano lessons
8. Take a martial arts class
9. Take ballroom classes with Jim
10. Visit all 7 continents (5 down!)
12. Go to a vacation spa with ggod girlfriends
13. Go on a sailboat cruise
14. Own a waterfront home
16. Play paintball
17. Ride in a hot air balloon
Which to tick off next?!
I'm often contacted by clients who want to lose the weight they've gained through pregnancy. They long to get back the body they had before they got pregnant or, in some cases, even a healthier one! Most of the time they have a "number" in mind. A number they want to see on the scale or a number of pounds they wish to lose. Sometimes they let me know that number right off. Sometimes I have to ask some questions, but almost all of them have a "number" they want to achieve.
While "losing the weight" or "toning up ______ (insert body part of your choice here)" is a goal that will certainly help you to achieve a healthier lifestyle, its often a longer-term goal. Meaning, the road to weight loss is more of a roller coaster than it is a set path. You're bound to have stumbling blocks, weight loss plateaus and set backs. How you address all of these will help you to achieve your long term goal, but it can often be a frustrating journey. One where you can easily give up on your goal all together, thinking you'll never achieve it.
I often try to ask my clients "why they want to lose the weight?". This doesn't always come about in one session, but usually after I've gained rapor with them and they begin to trust me. At the beginning the answers are usually, "Because my doctor said I needed to." Or "There's this great pair of shorts I've had in my closet for ages that I'm dying to get back into!" As time passes, the answers become "I want to be here for my children and set a good example for them of a healthy lifestyle." Or "I want to be healthy for my next pregnancy so I don't have so many complications."
Now we're getting somewhere!
The next question is....What does this look like? For some this is a hard question to answer. They haven't given it much thought. For others they have an answer right away..."They want to be able to complete the Thanksgiving walk their church does every year." "They want to run their first marathon." "They want to be able to walk up the stairs at work without being exhausted or having to stop."
These are the measurable, achievable goals that always make me smile and get me excited! Why?
- You know when you've achieved them! Be it a race, a walk, climbing the stairs without stopping, being able to touch your toes, complete a pull-up, push-up or sit-up. You immediately know when you've achieved this goal. And so does everyone else! The smile, joy and enthusiasm you radiate at that moment is infectious to everyone around you.
- Success begets Success! Along your journey to achieve your goal, you'll find that if you don't change certain behaviors you won't achieve your goal. Its hard to finish a marathon if you've fueled your body on french fries and diet coke! Just as its hard to complete a pull-up, push-up or sit-up if you don't train the muscles (strengthen & stretch) that you'll need to complete those moves. You'll make the positive changes in both your diet and your exercise habits as you start seeing your goal becoming more of a reality.
- A clear path to success! Physical goals tend to have a set path. Rather than the roller-coaster of losing weight, gaining some back, plateauing, etc. The steps to running your first 5K are easily measurable. First you walk, then add some running, then you're running. Increase distance slowly and strengthen/stretch the muscles you'll be depending on to get you across the finish line. You can see yourself getting closer to your goal each step along the way.
- Lots of additional achievements! As you progress along the path to your set goals, you'll find some incredible benefits along the way you didn't know you'd achieve. As you get stronger, you'll start taking on more risks and responsibilities in your personal life. If you can achieve it physically, you can achieve it mentally! Your self-esteem will grow! Things that you once thought tough, may not be so tough any more. You're more likely to face the challenge head on, than shy away from it! After all look at how much you've achieved physically! You'll empower yourself to make those same changes in your personal or prefessional life. Who knows maybe a promotion, new career or new relationship is in your future!!!
- Others will want to join in on the fun! Very rarely do people achieve a goal or finish a race with a frown. You've seen them. They're grinning from ear to ear, arms raised, maybe they're laughing or crying, family and friends are there to greet them and celebrate in their success. Maybe you've felt that excitement, that winning attitude when you've been there to cheer on a family member or friend as they achieve their goal. You understand then how contagious that excitement can be! It encourages others to set their own goals, to make healthier food and exercise choices, to start living a healthier life! And whats even more exciting than celebrating achieving your own goal?.....Celebrating achieving your goal with a group you train with who are also achieving the same goal!
So examine the "Why?" behind your weight loss goals and consider setting a physical goal. It will help you achieve your long-term weight loss goal and soo much more!!!
I had the great privilege to present at my daughter's career day at her elementary school last month. It was such a wonderful, uplifting experience for myself, the children, teachers and other volunteers.
I love my job! I love getting to interact with different people each day, helping them to make healthier changes that will enhance their lives and those of their families. I wanted to share that passion with my daughter's school. Career day was the perfect opportunity!
We hear almost daily about the growing obesity problem in the United States. The pathetic state of our children's school lunch programs. The lack of access to fresh, affordable fruits and vegetables. The statistics are staggering...1 in 3 children in the US are now classified as obese, 11.6% of men and 34.35% of women in the US are ineligible for military service due to obesity, children born this decade are projected to have a shorter life expectancy than their parents due to rising obesity rates,...
I firmly believe that if we teach our children, and mothers, to make healthier food choices and to move their bodies daily, we can correct these statistics. Mothers want to do what is in the best interest of their children and children are little sponges, they'll change their eatting and exercise habits if you make it fun. And they'll bring it back to their homes, encouraging their family to make healthy changes also!
I won't lie, I was nervous. Kids are a tough group. They'll let you know if they like you or they don't. You have a very short window to grab their attention and then an even more difficult time, maintaining it! My goal, to entertain, educate and share my love of healthy living!
Each presentation lasted 20 minutes. I talked about what I did, let the kids participate in some exercises, try some new equipment (the bosu was a big hit!), got the teachers involved and finished off with some nutritional info (gotta eat that rainbow of fruits and veggies daily!). Then the children were able to ask questions. They were so interested in what I did, why I did it, that I got to "play" all day, excited that they could eat a rainbow, but that the occasional treat was ok...as long as it was occasional.
Their energy excited me! They couldn't wait to tell me about a race they ran, what they did with their families that moved their bodies, what sports they played, to see if they could do a push-up/squat/hold a balance posture (especially if they were competing against their teacher!), and what good foods they liked to eat. They wanted to share all their achievements! I was thrilled to see their excitement to live healthier lives, to make good food choices and to move their bodies daily.
I think its important to share our passions with children. Its how they learn. People who are passionate about something, make what they love to do, seem exciting and achievable. Others respond to that excitement, that passion. They want to be a part of it. They want to experience it too. So share your passion. Show others how they too can do the same thing. Make it achievable! Little changes add up to BIG results!
I knew I had achieved my goal, when at the grocery store (we call them commissaries on military bases), one of the children who had seen me at career day, pulled on her mother's arm, pointed at me and said "Mom, that's the "Eat a Rainbow!" lady!" I couldn't think of a better title!
Side-lined by an injury. I knew it was coming. I had felt the pain in my knee for a few weeks now. It was slowly building during each running session, coming on earlier in the run. Going from a dull ache to a sharper pain. Eventually causing me to stop running altogether and finish at a walk.
Why did I push through? I know the drill. I tell my clients it all the time. Don't push through pain. Stop. Seek treatment. Rest. Recover. And come back stronger. So why didn't I listen?!
The same reason most of us don't. We think the pain will suddenly go away. We think we're "stronger" than the pain. When in reality, pain is our bodies way of tell us to slow down. Something isn't quite right. Fix it. Learn from it. Come back stronger.
I've suffered from runner's knee before. I have extremely flat feet and I'm prone to it. Most of us have alignment issues that cause our bodies, after repetitive movements (running, cycling, climbing stairs, sitting/standing, etc), to wear down in certain areas, mainly joint areas. Think shoulders, hips, knees, wrists, elbows. The list of repetitve movement injuries is lengthy for all those joints. Rotator cuff injuries, tennis elbow, runner's knee, bursitis, etc. Its the reason most personal trainers look at your alignment before starting you on a training program. It clues us in to any issues you may have before we start training. Giving us clues as to muscles that may be overly tight and need to be stretched or weak and need to be strengthened. Its the reason we ask questions about what you do for a living, how much time each week on average you spend standing/sitting, what recreational activities you perform, where you've had injuries in the past and what type of physical therapy, if any, you had, etc. We're trying to gain insight into how we can help you stay injury free and create the best individualized program for your needs.
My problem, I ignored all that advice. I stopped doing my physical therapy exercises once I no longer felt the injury (10 years ago!). Sound familiar? I didn't give myself enough rest and recovery time, going straight from one race to another. I was never good at wearing my orthodics! All the things I've learned from years of competing and learning how my individual body works best (I need longer rest periods between races and more stretching than most), I ignored. Why? Because I was trying to keep up with all the other athletes I was surrounded by, instead of listening to my own body. And, because I thought I could handle it. My body thought otherwise.
But at some point, we've all been there. We've all felt the start of the pain of an injury and ignored it. Pushing it out of our mind and pretending it would go away. For most of us, where did that get us?! With a larger injury and needing to take more time away from the activity or activities we love!
A better approach:
1. Listen to your body. If it hurts, stop. Find out why.
2. Do the work that you need to do to correct the issue. We all have alignment and repetitive stress issues. Your joints pay the price, but its your muscles that need to be strengthened or stretched to ensure that your joints line up correctly and can function optimally.
3. Rest the injured area.
4. Start back slowly. Your newly stretched and strengthened muscles will need time to get up to 100% in this new alignment. So go easy. It will help you to stay injury free.
5. Don't stop training! Just because you have an injury doesn't mean you stop exercising all together. You can rest the injured area, but still work the remainder of your body. Take this time to build up a part of your body that you don't get to concentrate on as much. Right now my knees need a rest, but my arms, abs and back are still a go. So I'm concentrating on strengthening them....the right way!
6. When in doubt, consult a professional. Ask what exercises you should be doing. How to perform them. How often to perform them. How to start back to your favorite exercise. Then follow that advice. And if you're not comfortable with the answers, then find someone else. Doctors, physical therapists, exercise physiologists, sports medicine doctors, orthopedists, and qualified personal trainers (ask if they have experience helping clients with injuries such as yours) are great resources.
Runner's knee may have me watching from the side-lines for a bit. But with careful rehab, I'll be back out on the road, training for my next triathlon. And you can be certain, that I'll be listening more to my body, keeping up with my exercises and coming back stronger than before my injury!!!
As I stood at the edge of the water, swim cap on, googles ready, waitting for the starting gun to fire, all the excuses of why I shouldn't be there, started running through my mind. I hadn't trained enough. I hadn't done an open water swim like this, ever! It had been over 4 years since I had last competed in a duathlon or triathlon. What was I thinking!!!
I had that nervous feeling most of us get at the starting line. That, I have to go to the bathroom feeling, yet you know you've already gone. The butterflies were going full circle.
Truth was, I was ready. As ready as I could be. I had practiced all my disciplines. Put in the training hours in the pool, on the bike, and on the run. My bike and gear was all set. Yes, I probably should have gotten in an ocean swim. I always tell my clients to never wear something they haven't tried on race day and to practice all the stages of a race. But, at the starting line, there was nothing I could do about it then.
I took a deep breath, told myself to "buck up, its a short race, you can do it!" and listened for the starting gun.
When the gun sounded....arms, legs, torsos all flung themselves into the ocean. I headed for the first bouy. Others had said the water was cool, I couldn't tell. Adrenaline coursed through my veins and all I could see was that first orange bouy. I hung tight to the feet of another female swimmer in front of me. "I can do this I thought!" Then came that first wave, that you hit all wrong, I turned to breathe and it came straight over top of me. Instead of a mouth full of air, I choked on a mouth full of water. I fought the fear of panic that entered my head, cough it out and continued on. I rounded the first bouy and headed for the second. The waves were hitting me on the side now as I was parallel to the beach. It made swimming a bit easier, breathing, not so much. My mind coursed through all the tri books I've read over the years on how to turn my head to breathe with ocean waves breaking around me. I concluded that I should have practiced this before and not during the race. Oh well, not much I could do about it now...just keep swimming forward and taking in more breathes than ocean water, I told myself. As I rounded the second bouy, the beach was just in front of me. I used a combination of strokes to get through those last yards and fought back the panic that was filling me that I wasn't going to make it! I thought of my girls and knew I'd make it back to the beach. They were not going to be helping me out of the water!!!
I hit the beach and wanted a drink of water, but first I had to make it to transition. I thought of all the triathlon races I've watched and how they run to transition, a quick change and they're off. They always make it look so easy!!! I on the other hand, felt like a drowned rat! I took a few steps to catch my breath and regain my land legs. Transition went smooth. Getting on the bike felt great! And that first sip of water....oh, I would have paid money for it! Just getting that salt water taste out of my mouth was uplifting.
The bike course was all up and down hills, lots of turns. With the roads being wet from the nights rains, you had to be careful not to slide off some of the turns. But I knew the route well and could anticipate where I wanted to be. I felt like I was flying! It was on the bike that I heard those first cheers of people, friends, cheering me on. Some of the voices I knew right away, others would hit me as I pushed on further ahead. Their encouragement put a smile back on my face and lifted my spirits. Each turn of the pedals quickened my pace and boosted my confidence, passing people as I went, eager to improve my standing from where I had finished the swim!
My bike to run transition was smooth. Years of duathlons had helped me to iron out all the details. My legs transitioned easily and I was even able to cheer those on who were ahead of me and looping around to the finish. The run included ramps, hills and stairs. I kept my eyes on three women who I judged to be in my age group who were about 200 yards in front of me. When one stopped to catch her breath, I passed her, while encouraging her to continue on. They had targets on their backs and I was bound to catch them. As we headed down the last hill, which looped around and finished 100 meters ahead, I picked up my pace and caught the first one on the loop and the second on the upward hill toward the finish. I was giving it 100% now and would leave nothing at the finish. I heard a friend yell "Go get it, girl!" In my mind the two women I had just passed were right on my heels. "They're not catching me!", I thought to myself. I sprinted for the finish, coming in 3rd in my age group and 7th overall.
One of the things I've always appreciated about racing endurance, multi-sport events, is the comraderie. Cheering others on. Supporting your fellow racers and the effort they're putting out. Learning from them and their experience. Gaining courage and confidence from their ability to continue to strive forward, even when things get tough. Helping each other out before the race, after and during. My track coaches in high school taught me that win or lose, it was how you carried yourself through the race that mattered most. I'm competitive, no doubt! But regardless of my finish, I enjoy most cheering on those I'm racing with, supporing their efforts, learning from their successes and failures. To be surrounded by equally minded healthy, fit, competitive people is inspiring!
So I encourage you, to push aside the fear and excuses that enter your head (if I had listened to mine, I never would have entered the water!) and enter a race. It doesn't matter how you finish, but I promise that you'll be inspired to greatness you didn't first think possible! Heck, it inspired me to enter another triathlon next week!!!!
I recently had to go shopping for some new clothes as our family was having photos taken on the beach. Yes, those coordinated outfits that supposedly make the family photos that much more unified...or frustrating when shopping on short notice with few choices!
As I pulled a few choices from the rack, I quickly realized that, trying on clothes was not a lot of fun, when you had no one with you to give you an honest opinion. (How do these jeans look? Is this shirt a good color? I think this outfit looks ridiculous, you?). And the opinions of a three year old and one year old, my shopping companions that day, just don't help. (Although hearing, "Wow Mommy, you look so pretty!" is great for the ego!) Shopping is much more enjoyable when you have a friend or two joining you.
The same could be said for exercise. Going for a six mile run doesn't seem nearly as long when you're chatting with friends for most of it. You tend to push yourself harder when the person next to you is lifting more weight or holding a plank longer. Friendly competition can do wonders when trying to push yourself to go a little longer, a little faster, or lift just one more rep.
Exercising with friends can also create a lot of laughs. My groups often laugh with each other when things get tough. When someone thinks they can't do an exercise, but try it anyway and see that they can do it afterall. When complaining about sore muscles and where things "hurt". When learning a new exercise or trying to maintain their balance (losing ones balance seems to always bring about the giggles!). Together they push through, achieving a higher degree of success together than they could have on their own.
On long walks or runs, you get a chance to catch up. Chat about what's going on in your lives, What's working and get advice on what isn't. That's better than any therapy session sometimes...and certainly cheaper!!! Exercise is more than just physical health, its mental health as well.
Plus knowing that there is someone else counting on you to be there. Encouraging you to go the extra mile, or lift those last few reps, is incredibly empowering to all parties involved! Often times the quiet friend is the most vocal cheerleader. The friend you once saw as shy, is now incredibly strong as well. The friend that you thought was athletically gifted...you find that you're just as strong and capable as they are. Exercise can lift and tone our muscles, but also our attitudes about ourselves and others around us!
Exercising with a friend or friends can take your sessions to the next level and make it so much more fun! You'll laugh, encourage each other, learn together, have a built in support system and, most of all, have lots of FUN!
So grab a friend and get your "Workout" on! I promise you'll have a great time!
I overheard a mom at the park the other day complaining about not being able to lose the "baby" weight. She said that if she had a personal trainer and chef on hand it would be no problem at all. But what mom with multple children has time to prepare healthy meals and workout!?! I chuckled to myself as I chased after one of my girls. I do! And I don't find it a hardship, its just what I do to so my family and myself can lead our healthiest lives possible!
Maybe I should have given her my business card and told her how I could help, but I didn't. But as my girls and I left the park, her comment stuck with me. I found myself wondering, why is it that I don't find planning and preparing healthy meals difficult? How do I find time to get my own workouts in while working and raising three small children?
The only difference I could find is that I take the time each week to plan out my meals and my workouts. And living a healthy life through daily exercise and healthy eatting is important to me. My life is no less busy than anyone else's. I'm currently training for a couple of triathlons, working, running two children around to their various activities each afternoon, helping with homework and taking care of household chores, most of the time all on my own as my husband is active duty military. I HAVE to plan it all out or it just won't happen!
But isn't that the truth of everything we've ever accomplished in our lives? We have a goal, an idea of what we'd like to achieve. Then we see what we need to do to achieve that dream, that goal. Then we put a plan in place of the things we need to do to make that dream or goal a reality. Very few things in life happen by luck or accident. Even lottery winners must first buy a ticket before they can win! Losing weight and making healthier food choices takes the same time and planning.
So each week I plan out what meals we're going to eat based on our schedule. I identify what I can prep in advance so food will be on the table at a reasonable hour. Anyone with children knows what its like if your kids get too hungry, too cold/hot or too tired!!! Then I go shopping. Sometimes they don't have everything I need, especially here in Okinawa, so I substitute a "like" ingredient of the same taste or texture, spinach for kale or molassas for agave nectar for example.
I do the same with my workouts. Sometimes that means I'm up at 4:45 for a workout before hubby leaves for work or I ask the neighbor babysitter to watch the kids so I can get a swim in. Yes, I've paid a babysitter so I can get a workout in! Remember exercise isn't just about "me" time (sure sometimes we all need time away from our children!), but its also about disease prevention and setting the example that healthy living is just as important in our lives as the air we breathe and water we drink. Many of the top 5 causes of death can be reduced through exercise and healthy food choices. I've also taken my girls to a park or basketball court where they can run around and I can get my workout in at the same time. Be creative! A workout doesn't have to take place in a gym!
The choice is yours....take the time to plan, making exercise and healthy living a part of your every day life or don't and live with the consequences. Each is a choice you make.
As for my meals, I prepare things in advance as much as possible. If I've grilling up a couple of chicken breasts for dinner, adding a few more doesn't add any extra work. Then I can cut them up for a salad or sandwich at lunch later in the week. Cutting up some extra broccoli, peppers, cucumber, when I'm already cutting them up for dinner, means I have snacks for later in the week. No extra work there! Making a humus or black bean dip on Sunday or Saturday takes about 10 minutes, but could make 5 meals throughout the week (wraps, salads, snacks, etc). And having a couple of quick, healthy stand by meals that I know my family will eat and can be on the table in 20 minutes is helpful too. Try new recipes or be inspired by some you've read. I recently took a very complicated recipe and simplified it (grill some boneless centercut pork chops lightly seasoned to your taste - I used old bay seasoning, then grill some cut up pineapple sprinkled with a little sugar till you have grill marks. Top the pork with your favorite salsa, add the pineapple to the salsa and you have a great meal. I steamed some broccoli just to have an addition veggie!).
Preparing healthy meals doesn't have to be time intensive. It doesn't have to be hard. But it does take planning. And it takes you making the choice to make healthier meals. Its always easier to keep doing the same thing. Change can be hard. But change is where results happen. Change is where dreams become reality.
You CAN make healthy meals and make exercise a part of your life. Even if you're a mom of five or work a full-time job! It takes planning and making the choice to change!!!
As a personal trainer, I'm often asked what I eat. I think most people would be surprised when they looked in my pantry. Sure the clean eatting supplies are there, plenty of nuts, whole grain flours, oatmeal, flax seeds, healthy oils, whole grain breads (sometimes homemade) and granola bars (always homemade), honey, agave nectar, maple syrup, dried fruits, chicken stock, quinoa, brown rice, different pastas (whole wheat, quinoa, etc), onions, potatos and other root veggies and a few other natural food products. But you'd also find chips, cookies, fruit leather, crackers, beer/wine and a few other not so good for you snacks. Oh...and lots of chocolate!
My personal philosophy, I eat right 90% of the time and my kids need to be kids.
Growing up my mother never bought sugar cereal. Never! When I got to college the first thing I went for was bowl after bowl of Lucky Charms. For four years, there was always a bowl or box of Lucky Charms to be found in my house.
Since then I've changed my ways. Lucky Charms have not managed to find shelf space yet in my pantry, but I do try to make sure that my children have some childhood favorites. Chocolate chip cookies to dunk in their milk. Potato chips because sometimes nothing else will do. Sure I could substitute something healthier or a homemade option, but they won't always have access to these options. I'd rather let them have an "occasional" treat and then let them have all the "healthy" options they want the rest of the time. Hopefully teaching them how to make healthy choices while still enjoying the occasional treat.
My oldest daughter already knows the drill. If she has a not so healthy snack, she should only eat one and then the remainder of her snacks that day should be healthy options. And she's good with that.
Isn't that what we all try to find...or at least aim to....balance? I know that is what works best for me in my life. If I deny myself something, that becomes the thing that I crave the most. But if I allow myself the occasional treat, then I don't want it as much. I don't HAVE to have it. I can choose when and if I want it.
Not only does this work everyday for me, but especially when special occasions or holidays come along. I can plan for them. I know whether or not a family or holiday favorite is going to be on the menu for the event. If its a food that brings back childhood memories or is something that is only available once a year, then I usually make allowances for those foods. I savor those foods, the flavors, the smells, the taste. I eat healthier in the days leading up to those events. Rarely are those events surprise occasions. I usually know in advance they're coming and can plan for them. I also make sure that I get a workout in those days. For me, it helps to even out the guilt of eatting a rich food. Then I'm free to enjoy the food and not worry about the dent it will put on my waistline.
A few tips that have worked well for me over the years:
Be selective. Its easy to say no to the sheet cake from the local grocery store, but mom's apple pie, well maybe that's worth the splurge.
Have a plan. Special occasions, birthdays, holidays, anniversaries...we know when they're coming. Plan for them ahead of time.
Enjoy the splurge. Savor the treat and don't feel guilty about it. If you're eatting right 90%, even 80% of the time, a special treat every now and then is not going to cause the scale to break. So enjoy it and get back to your regular eatting patterns with the next meal (not tomorrow...too often we slip and let the whole day go. Why? Get right back on track with the next meal. You'll feel less quilty and go easier on your waistline!).
If it doesn't taste GREAT, then its not worth the calories and I leave it on the plate. No one is really watching what you're eatting. Its ok not to clear your plate!
So that's what works for me. That's what keeps me on track and still allows me to enjoy family favorites, special occasions and holiday treats. I encourage you to find a plan that works for you.
***Update to my jump rope goal of reaching 500 jumps on two different jumps. I'm now at 260! Almost halfway there!!!!
Have you ever watched a child at play? They seem to have boundless energy. At the park, they run from the swings to the slides to the monkey bars never stopping for a break. Hours pass like minutes to them. At the beach or pool, they could spend hours in the water if you didn't tell them to come out and take a break. They jump rope, play tag, chase each other around, all while laughing and having a great time. You don't need to tell them to exercise, they're already doing it...with big smiles on their faces!
I often wonder what happens to us as adults where we don't find joy in the every day pursuit of exercise, of moving our bodies, enjoying nature and the pursuit of fun! When we were children exercise wasn't about going out to run 3 miles. It was found in a game of kickball or kick the can. We didn't count our laps as we swam. We were just thrilled to be in the water! A game of foursquare, soccer or basketball was just that....a game! Sure we wanted to "win". To master the game, beat our friends. But most of the time, no one had to tell us to get out there and "exercise". Somewhere along the way to adulthood, exercise became....work!!!
But does it have to be that way? Is that the example we want to set for our children? I say "NO!" Or should we follow the example of children set? You can choose to make exercise fun. There are soo many options these days for moving our bodies. From CrossFit classes, to zumba, master swim teams, adult softball/soccer/rugby teams, home dvds and downloadable internet classes. There are so many options. You don't have to be stuck doing something you don't like doing. Take a chance, try a new class, join a club team, get together some friends for an weekend hike or ski trip, sign up for a race and find your inner athlete.
I've recently found out how much I enjoy jumping rope. Each morning I wake up eager to see if I can beat the number of jumps without a miss from the day prior. I recently read that when you can make 500 jumps with 2 different foot patterns, that you're considered an expert jumper. I'm currently at 220 jumps. My goal: to reach 500 by the end of March! I don't remember jumping rope being this difficult as a child, but I'm glad I still remember how much FUN it is!
Exercise shouldn't be work! Our children know that! Exercise should be fun! And if its not, then try something else. There are sooooooo many options these days to move our bodies and feel good about ourselves. Find yours! Play! Laugh! Live!!!