You may remember I started out this year with a resolution to get in the habit of working out so that I could lose the 21 pounds I was wanting to kick to the curb. I am down 14.2 pounds from where I started, yay! I thought I'd put together a list of the things that motivate me in this process, in case any of these things might be helpful to others who are trying to shed some pounds or create healthy habits.
See this post for a full explanation of my sticker process. Basically I put a sticker on the calendar when I work out. It's really that simple. But it is a physical reminder of when I follow through and when I don't, placed in the kitchen in a spot where I pass it every day. Those big, bright stickers make it pretty obvious when I do and don't exercise and I can see at a glance how long it has been since I did work out. It's an at a glance kick in the pants. Haha, I just came up with that...that's funny. Anyway, works great for me. I look forward to putting a sticker on the calendar and I'm sad when I don't. Silly, I know, but helps me a lot.
It's a calorie and exercise tracker website with a great database, iphone and droid apps, and a feature set up like facebook where you can add fitness friends for encouragement, motivation and accountability. Helps me stay on track. Check it out!
3. My husband
This should probably be the number 1 motivation in any list of motivations I ever make actually. CPA studying and testing? He was all there for me, encouraging me, helping me, scolding me when I didn't want to study. This weight loss endeavor? No different. He is so good about a) motivating and encouraging me but also b) not letting me obsess over this. This is a process that of course takes lots of thought and effort, but it shouldn't take over my whole life! That's why if I miss a day or two of exercising, eh whatever, because I know I'll get back into it. If we go out to eat for a special occasion (or no occasion) and I splurge on a 1300 calorie meal, it's one day, and I sure enjoy those splurges! I'm not so cracked out on weight loss that it consumes my every thought and I refuse certain fun or tasty things because "I have to go run" or "I can't eat that." That's lame. I know weight loss doesn't and shouldn't happen overnight, it takes a while to lose a big chunk like I want to. So anyway, Trent is very good about encouraging me to accomplish my goal but also reigning me in when I get a little nuts about calories. Thanks babe. Trent is the person for me, who is it for you? Ask your spouse or sibling or parent to be that personal accountability to you. myfitnesspal.com is good at it, but it's good to have someone in your life daily, that you see in person and that loves you and wants to see you succeed. Ask them to be encouraging but also be hard on you when they need to be. There are days when I tell Trent "MAKE me go run this evening. I know I won't want to." And since I state that, he sticks to it and sometimes practically pushes me out the door. Not really, but he makes me stick to my daily plan since I ask him to. Believe me, he can be a meanie sometimes, but that's what I need! Find someone like that to help you along with encouragement but also some scolding when necessary.
4. Planning one day at a time
Trent and I have a wacky schedule. Between my 8-5 job and extra commitments, plus his ever changing youth ministry schedule, no two weeks are the same back to back when it comes to time commitments and daily schedules. So I just plan my diet and exercise day to day. It's as simple as taking two seconds at the beginning of the day to look at the whole day's schedule and think "ok, I've got a recruiting lunch for work which will require eating out so I need to be careful there not to pig out. I've got (fill in the blank) meeting at church at 7 so I will go run in between getting off work at 5 and going to the meeting." (Or whatever your schedule is of course) So far I haven't gotten any bad looks for showing up to some church meetings or events in work out clothes (having changed my shirt if necessary and splashed on some fragrance). The point is to plan at the beginning of the day what diet dangers might come in your way that you need to be smart about, and plan when you are going to exercise, so you know that is what you expect of yourself for the day. Then just follow through.
Sticking to a routine really helps me out. I have found a good route in our neighborhood that I run/walk. I know how long it takes me, depending on how far I go, so I can factor that into my schedule. And I try to do it most days, in order to keep it "normal" in my daily routine and it not be this big extra thing I have to fit in. I have not so far set an actual exercise schedule for myself like "I will run on these days and take X day off each week" because our schedule is so shifty and unpredictable. That's where planning one day at a time comes in handy. So while each week may not look like the previous or next, I still try to get that workout in on as many days as I can so it remains a normal part of my life. Have kids? Take them with you! Get one of those cool three wheel running strollers or let kids ride their bikes. Cut out a tv show and go walk or run during that time instead, with the whole family! One of my fond childhood memories is family walks/bike rides, all 7 of us.
Nothing motivates me more than getting on Kim's scale (I don't actually own one, part of my not obsessing deal) and seeing that number get smaller and smaller! Also realizing that my current pants are all too big was a good feeling...although now I need to go buy more pants. And I look skinnier! Results may be the best motivation of all, but easier said than done, of course. You gotta work HARD to make that number go down, make those pants baggy and get to where you can see the difference. But it sure feels GOOOOOD when it does and makes me want to continue!
Best of luck to everyone out there trying to lose weight or maintain a healthy lifestyle. I hope maybe one or some of these motivation of mine can help you out as well.