Moving On

“Perfectionism doesn’t make you feel perfect. It makes you feel inadequate.” ~Maria Shriver

Seriously. Have truer words ever been spoken? Here’s how it works for me. I’ll be chugging along nicely. Working out several times a week. Eating like a normal person, rather than a starved homeless person. Then I’ll get tired. Or bored. And I’ll skip the gym. Then my motivation begins to waiver. One day turns to two, followed by too many nights on pinterest pinning fitness rather than achieving it. Or I’ll be home alone and suddenly decide I’m ravenous. So I’ll eat a bowl of cereal. And by bowl, I’m talking a big jethro bowl. Followed by another. And possibly a third.

So, I’m not working out. I’m eating like crap. I’m in a slump of epic proportions and since I think I’m supposed to be “perfect” I just sit there and wallow in my funk.

What I should do after a misstep, is just pick myself up and keep going. Had a bad week? Whatevs. Own it and move on.

Move. On.

Shit Happens – Move On

In an effort to hold myself accountable, I remind you of this. I challenged myself to work out more days than I didn’t in December. In other words, work out at least 16 of the 31 days.

Wellll…..I didn’t. In fact, I worked out once. Three times if you count the couple of walks I took with my dog. Since he’s a Yorkie and his legs are approximately six inches long, let’s just say those walks weren’t exactly “brisk”.

Girl pouting because she didn’t meet her goal

There are reasons for this. I had to make a change in my work schedule. I’ve had the same job for the last ten years and I’ve always worked until 5:30, sometimes much, much later. This allowed me to hit the gym on my way home because my kids were always in their extra curriculars until around 8pm. A change in circumstances required me to be home when they got home from school instead, so I started leaving my office around 3pm. That meant I went straight home from work and helped with homework, got the kids ready for extra curriculars, and sometimes did car pool. After they left I would be able to focus on me. That ended up translating into laundry, making dinner, and picking up around the house. Basically everything for everyone but me. The thing is, once I walk in the door, my resolve to work out is G.O.N.E.

However, reasons why you didn’t do something are really just excuses, aren’t they?

At first I was all, “YOU SUCK! I can’t believe you can’t do this. You committed to all 4 of your readers that you would do this!” But, then I remembered this was the year of “Flaws and All”.  So, I forgave myself. Yeah, I know better; I know I could have easily done something. I didn’t –  and I’m moving on.

How can I try to “inspire” people when I’m not authentic? The truth is, we all have bad days, weeks, or sometimes month. EVERYONE. I cannot authentically try to motivate you to love yourself and have a positive body image, if I’m expecting perfection from myself. I blew off my work outs all month by making excuses. I’m human.

Moving forward, I’ve designed a work out plan for myself. I’m committing to exercising 3 days a week. That’s not a lot, however, the reason we often fail is because we set our expectations so high. Three days a week is a helluva lot better than what I’ve been doing, which is nothing. I’ll stay accountable to you even if that means telling you a month from now that I didn’t meet my commitment.

commitment_jpg

The thing is, shit happens. I can’t change the past and since what “you think about you bring about” means dwelling on past failures will lead to future failures, I’m not too worried about it. I’m focused on the future and being the best me I can be.

Is it time for you to forgive yourself of past failures? Whatever mistakes you’ve made, you have the opportunity right this second to change everything. Who else is ready to move onward and upward?

Resolving To Be Awesome In 2013 – Guest Post by SwimBikeMom

I am thrilled to bring you today’s guest post by Meredith Atwood of SwimBikeMom.com. She is an incredible inspiration and totally hilarious. She has serious goals without taking herself to seriously.

bike

Every New Year, I found myself looking at the same body and getting mad.  Each year, I would make a list:

1) lose 1000 pounds;

2) fit into jeans from the 80’s;

and 3) wear bikini by summer.

And then at the end of EACH year, I would scream and hate myself, saying, “I can’t believe that an entire year has been “wasted” and I still look…like… this.”  Uggggh.  (There might have been some flailing and cursing too. Just saying.)

Things began to change for me in 2010 when I found the sport of triathlon.  While I still really don’t love the way I look, triathlon has been a welcomed change to the standard, empty look-better resolutions. Therefore my one resolution for 2013 has been: NO RESOLUTIONS.

swim

Instead of resolving to not do things, I now set goals. Big, nasty, huge goals, and I work on completing those.  And that’s it.

I would love (love) to wear a bikini this summer, but I would much rather finish my big race –Ironman—in June than wear the bikini.  I am working on focusing on what matters (being healthy), instead of that which really, in the end game, doesn’t matter (wearing bikini).

For 2013, let’s all think about the things we can accomplish. The big goals we’d like to achieve.  Instead of thinking about the things we shouldn’t do (Stop eating this! Stop doing that!), let’s turn our eyes to what we should do… and what we can do.

Be grateful for the great things that our bodies can achieve… the bodies that look just like they do. Right now.

Instead of cursing my fat rear end, I’m turning my eyes forward…towards the big things I will achieve in 2013.  That, somehow, feels a lot more happy than any bikini.thumbnail

Meredith Atwood is a wife, attorney, author and blogger at www.SwimBikeMom.com.  Her book, Triathlon for the Every Woman, was just released and is available on Amazon, Amazon Europe and in Kindle editions.  She’s finished two half Ironmans, and is tackling Ironman Coeur d’Alene in June of this year.

Why We Quit

Give Up Graffiti #ds367

Give Up Graffiti #ds367 (Photo credit: brendan-c)

“You can’t fire me – I QUIT!”

I’ve never said those words, but I’ve been in a few situations where, had the opportunity come, I might very well have. Can you just imagine that scenario? You’re working a job, probably one that sucks pretty badly. You think about quitting, but, well you’re not really that into dumpster diving for dinner so you keep showing up to work. One day something blows up and you end up getting fired (wrongly, of course). You think, ‘WHAT? I hate this place. You can’t fire ME. I’m firing YOU!” You are appalled at the very idea that YOU were the one in the wrong when you actually show up to this crappy job every day. It’s not like you’re heart broken that you no longer have that job. Quite the contrary; it’s a relief. But YOU didn’t get to make the decision – your boss did.

You didn’t control how it ended.

I think we’re like that with a lot of things, not just some crappy job or our commitment to fitness. We are so afraid of failing that we would actually rather quit. That’s why the diet industry is a $20 billion a year business. How many times have you started a fitness routine or a new “diet” and it was hard? Anyone? Anyone? It was SO hard, in fact, that you just gave up on it. You thought, “Ya know what? This doesn’t work. I quit.” Except here’s the truth – that work out DVD you gave up on? It would have worked. The reason these companies can offer you a money back guarantee isn’t because their program is magical or the only way to get in shape. It’s because if you go from doing nothing to do something – anything – you will see result. But you don’t see results, because you quit.

Quitting is easy. It puts you in charge of how things end. You can walk proudly away from your “stupid” gym because you didn’t like it anyway. You can come up with a million reasons why you quit going and they can all be because of the gym. But the reality is, if you would have put the work in, you would have gotten results. Putting the work in can suck. Putting the work in might mean admitting that you aren’t as strong as you thought. Or you might get embarrassed because you aren’t sure what to do. Putting the work in is uncomfortable.

Your fear of failing is so great you’d rather walk away.

Stop being a quitter. Easier said than done, right? Yes, especially if you’ve always been one to walk away when the going got tough. YOU are the decision maker. People don’t quit on you; you quit on them! But if you’re truly ready to meet your goals, you have to be prepared to keep going even when you want to quit. You have to prepare to fail. Failure isn’t permanent; quitting is.

“You may encounter many defeats, but you must not be defeated. In fact, it may be necessary to encounter the defeats, so you can know who you are, what you can rise from, how you can still come out of it.”  ― Maya Angelou

You owe it to yourself to fail. There is no great success without failure. Pick a goal, any goal at all, and determine you are going to stick with it. If you struggle with discipline, read this. It was written by Matt Frazier of No Meat Athlete (don’t worry carnivores, it has absolutely nothing to do with vegetarianism) and is by far my favorite thing I’ve ever read about creating habits.

You can start right now. Set goals that are worthwhile and be determined to see them through. If you are willing to quit on a goal when it gets rough, what’s the point in starting? Is it something you really wanted anyway? Make your mind up right now, in this moment, to only devote your time to things that are worthwhile. When that’s the case, quitting is not an option.

December Challenge – Keep the Mojo

Oaxaca Calendar 2012: December

Oaxaca Calendar 2012: December (Photo credit: planeta)

My mojo seems to have reappeared recently and I can’t tell you how thankful I am for that. I find it takes just one missed workout or one bad week to fall off that proverbial wagon and much, much longer to claw my way back on it. I’m easily motivated, but lose it quickly. To keep myself going and to not fall off the friggin’ wagon, I’m challenging myself in December. It’s a pretty simple one since December can sometimes be pretty hectic.

Work out more days in December than I don’t.

There are 31 days in December. That means I have to work out at least 16 days to meet my challenge. See? I get 15 whole days of NOT working out if I choose. I really hope I don’t choose to take all 15 days off, but like I said, things get pretty hectic. Holiday parties not just for our family, but adult parties, kid parties, school parties, etc.

The thing about goals – they have to be achievable. If I say I’m working out 5 days a week in December I could miss a day the first week and get all pissy and throw my hands in the air (like I just don’t care). But, if I set an achievable goal, I’m encouraged to keep going. (There’s a difference between easy and achievable. Make sure you know it!)

So, who’s with me? Who can commit to working out just 16 days the month of December? Come on! You can do it!!!! You know you want to. 😉

What Works For Me Wednesday – Bringing My Lunch

Brown Bag (without staple)

Brown Bag (without staple) (Photo credit: Jeffrey Beall)

Here’s what a day looks like when I rush out of the house because I’m too busy to bring my lunch to work:
I start starving around 10:30 am. Curse myself for not at least bringing a snack to hold myself over until lunch time. Around noon, start trying to get out of my office to pick up something fairly healthy. That’s when everyone needs me. It’s nice to be needed. It’s not cool to be starving to death. Finally get out of my office at 2:00 pm. Barely drag myself to the car, walking zombie like, because I’m weak from not eating.  Hope I don’t pass out at the wheel before I find something to eat. First place I see is Chick-fil-A. I’ll get a grilled chicken sandwich and a fruit cup. It will be healthy and quick. Suddenly hear myself ordering #1 with large fries. I must black out because the next thing I know I’m in the parking lot of my office with an empty fry container in my lap and some ketchup on my shirt. Crumbs everywhere and no memory of eating anything. Suddenly I’m craving chocolate.

Here’s a day when I remember to pack my lunch:
Rushing out the door with my daughter screaming we’re late. Oh crap, I didn’t pack my lunch. I grab the first bag I can find, open the freezer and grab a frozen meal. Not the healthiest, very processed, high in sodium, but it’s a lot better than a french fry coma. Grab some yogurt, string cheese, an apple, and some 100 calorie pack almonds – throw them in the bag. Takes less than 30 seconds. In fact, I think my daughter is still mid-sentence about being late. (Whatevs!) Start getting hungry around 10:30 am. Eat the yogurt. Realize I’m starting to get  a little hungry again around 1:00. Pop my frozen meal in the microwave at work. “How do you get full on that little thing?”, my co-workers always ask. Well, I just had a snack at 10:30 so I’m not starving. Eat the meal and feel satisfied, not stuffed. Around 4:00 eat the almonds and string cheese so I can be fueled for my 5:30 workout.

See how easy that was? And my whole day of eating was less calories than the one super-sized drive thru meal. Oh, and my stomach wasn’t eating itself from the inside out because of hunger. I didn’t feel bloated and crappy from eating so much at one time. I felt satisfied and never starving throughout the whole day. This is good news because once I’m starving, all bets are off. I will go through 2000 calories of craptastic junkiness before I even realize I’m chewing. True story.

Taking 30 seconds to throw a lunch together – that works for me.

I Am Never, Ever, Ever…Going to be Perfect

Taylor Swift

Taylor Swift (Photo credit: jennnnnyf)

I have discovered what my problem is. Okay, maybe not all my problems, that would take forever. But it is a big one that I’ve been struggling with. In fact, it’s one that seems to have started around the same time I started blogging and my facebook page. Here’s the problem. I’m not perfect. (GASP!!!!)

Okay, so you probably figured that out a long time ago. But sometimes you just can’t see the forest for the trees and I was sitting in the middle of a big honkin’ forest. Wearing wooden goggles. Covered in leaves. Look, I never actually thought I was perfect, but I did think I was supposed to be. Why? Well, I don’t really have a good explanation. That’s why the whole thing is crazy.

Here are a few things that led me to the ridiculous conclusion that I was supposed to be perfect.

People said I inspired them.
SO, if I’m inspiring to someone and then they find out I have failed (missed a workout, gained a few pounds, lost every ounce of motivation), then I’m  no longer inspiring. I have failed them. The very people who thought I was inspiring. Ya know what? It’s also inspiring to find out someone is real. I hate reading an article about a “fit” celebrity who says they never workout. 1 – They’re lying. 2 – They have a ridiculous metabolism, but forget that working out is about so much more than how you look.

I am a certified personal trainer.
Well, technically I was certified. I haven’t renewed my certification yet, but I digress. I’ve mentioned this before, but that certification didn’t come with instructions. It didn’t come with motivation. Sure, I passed the exam to become certified. But, that’s like taking a lamaze class and thinking it makes you a perfect parent. Guess what? When you take that baby home from the hospital, you don’t arrive in your beautiful new nursery with all the answers. As a parent, you do your best with what you know. You learn a lot (I mean A LOT) as you go. Things you thought would work don’t. Things you never imagined you’d be doing work like a charm. Guess what? Training, working out, finding your fitness sweet spot…it’s all trial and error. It’s learn as you go. Things that worked for you while you’re new to fitness may not work for you once you have more experience. Things change. The only thing that does stay the same is that I need to keep reading, keep learning. I will never, ever (“ever, ever” sung like Taylor Swift) know it all. And I’m okay with that. (Most days.)

I am a Lifestyle and Weight Loss Management Specialist.
Whatever that means.

I’m not perfect. I’m not a perfect mother. Or a perfect wife. Or employee. Or anything. Neither are you and that’s totally cool. We’re not supposed to be. What would we do with all our free time if we were perfect and already knew it all?

The Way You Do One Thing Is The Way You Do Everything

English: Day Planner / Calendar screenshot

English: Day Planner / Calendar screenshot (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

“The way you do one thing is the way you do everything.” This was something that was said at a business seminar I went to a few weeks ago. The more I think about that statement, the more true it becomes.

I’m a researcher. I love researching topics. I love looking into the “best way” of doing things. I love setting up programs, projects, spreadsheets, etc. Nerdy? Yes! But it brings me great joy. Hey, I can’t help how I’m wired.

For example, I spent weeks researching the best productivity tools. I discovered that I had begun procrastinating more than normal and I thought if I could just get organized, it would make all the difference. I tried out several. I used wunderlist for a while. It has a beautiful interface and my only complaint was it didn’t have repeating tasks. That was okay, though. I worked with it. I was productive.

That wasn’t good enough though. In researching I had come across so many other tools, what if there was something better? I’m now certain I have usernames and virtually every online task management site that is available. Some I knew right away weren’t for me.

I felt like I hit the mother load when I started using toodledo. The reviews were fantastic on this one, but it said it was definitely a difficult tool to learn. HA! Challenge accepted. I mastered that sucker within a few days. I used it for a couple of months. It is a really great tool. If I were using an online task manager, THAT would be the one I use.

But, here’s what I discovered – I actually had more fun setting them up and learning how to use these systems effectively than I did in utilizing them. Once I’ve mastered it, it’s no fun anymore. Guess what I use now? My FranklinCovey that I’ve been using off and on since 1998. Yep. Pencil and paper.

If I’m honest with myself, I do the same with work outs. (The way you do one thing is the way you do everything.) I can spend hours researching the best workouts. I take great pride in this research and I can put together one hell of a work out. Actually doing the work out? Well, it’s just not as fun as doing all the prep work.

Oh, who am I kidding? This isn’t limited to task management and working out. This applies to pretty much everything I do. I’m a planner, coordinator, organizer. Once it’s time to take action, I get bored. I’m ready to start something new. Learn something new. Create something new.

The good news is, it’s important to know our strengths and weaknesses. We can’t compensate for our weaknesses unless we know what they are. The bad news…well Yoda said it best. “Knowing is not enough; we must apply.” Damn you, Yoda!

Three Kinds of People

"3"

“3” (Photo credit: striatic)

When it comes to fitness and nutrition, there seem to be three kinds of people. There are those who think they are never doing enough, those who think they are doing enough (but aren’t), and those who get it just right. This little Goldilocks would like to be one of those who get it just right, but I’m not quite there. Yet.

Those Who Think They Are Never Doing Enough
These are the people who think they need to work out HARD seven days a week. A rest day makes these people crazy. Rest? They don’t need no stinkin rest! When they leave the gym, they aren’t totally satisfied. Sure, they lifted weights for an hour, but what about cardio? Or could they have gone harder? Maybe just one more leg exercise? These people push themselves to the point of exhaustion and just give up. Their eating goes from almost “perfect” to total crap. They are just going to get fat anyway, if they can’t go to the gym and kill it every single day. (I am unfortunately one of these people. One hour spin, followed by one hour of yoga? Yes, please. And when I get home, I’ll go ahead and throw in some lunges as a bonus. Then I’ll eat a lettuce leaf and wonder why I’m tired. Okay, I don’t really eat lettuce leaves. That’s just silly. But after a week or two, I give up. No one can possibly keep up this pace.)

Those Who Think They Are Doing Enough
These are the people who think a ten minute walk is enough. Not that there is anything at all for a ten minute walk. If you’re just starting out, seriously, any movement you can get is fantastic. I’m talking about the people who never push themselves. They over-estimate how much they work out and completely under-estimate what they are eating. These are the people who will tell me Diet Coke is going to kill me while they have pizza juice dripping off their chin. Even if the pizza has a whole grain crust, light cheese, etc, if you eat the whole pie, you’ve defeated the purpose. The same people will eat an entire box of low-fat cookies, because they are “healthier”. They will get on the treadmill at the gym and go at a crazy slow pace, never breaking a sweat, and not understand why they aren’t seeing a difference. I’m not slamming these people. Trust me, the other category (up above) is just as messed up.

Those Who Get It Just Right
These are the people who have found a balance that works for them. They have figured out a schedule for working out and have stuck to it. The “when” doesn’t matter. It’s the consistency that gets these people to their goal. Whether it’s a morning workout before the family wakes up, lunch time, or after work, they have found what works for them. They have also found their workout sweet spot. They have found something(s) that they love doing that keeps them coming back for more. They don’t fret if they miss a workout. They know they’ll be back in the gym on their next day. They don’t freak if their workout was less than stellar. They know that not all days can be 100%. They take rest days. They also eat guilt free. Yes, you read that right. Guilt.freaking.free! They eat what they love and understand all things in moderation. And if they happen to eat a whole box of strawberry pop tarts, they dust themselves off and carry on. Nobody’s perfect. But these people have embraced their imperfections and have made being healthy a part of life. (Man, I’m starting to really not like “these people”.)

I’ve told you which one I am, but boy am I working on being the “just right” version of myself. Which one are you? If you’ve balanced it out, I’d love to hear from you about how you got to that place.

What Works and What Doesn't?

Recently, I’ve put on some weight. Admittedly, it has a whole lot to do with my lack of work outs. I had to dump my gym that has the spin classes I love (budget cuts are a real bitch). The change in my routine led to pretty much no routine at all, hence the weight gain.

So, I pull up my big girl panties and decide it’s time to get back to basics and get this weight off and get back in the shape I know I can be in. I start thinking, “Okay, eat healthier. Eat less (a LOT less – step away from the strawberry pop tarts). Work out more.” But what else? I know I had little tricks up my sleeve that I used to drop the pounds. I parked at the back of every parking lot so I had to walk to my destination.

Then I started drawing a blank. What other little nuggets did I do that worked so perfectly? Dammit! I can’t remember.

I attended a business seminar this week. It was of the motivational variety (and it totally kicked ass, by the way). He said that when things are going well, document what you are doing. Down to every.single.detail.

  • What time did you wake up?
  • What did you eat for breakfast?
  • What was your workout?
  • When did you workout?
  • How did you feel?
  • How did you deal with set backs?

The same goes for when things are going poorly. What did you do? Compare the two. What works and what doesn’t? You will only know if you keep track of it. This applies to success in anything! Winners keep score. And dammit, we’re winners!!!! Time to start tracking and get to our goals.