Hint: It has nothing to do with the scale!
I haven’t ever been truly consistent with exercise. I have run three half marathons, so I did the training for those, but outside of that it has usually been hit or miss.
After I had my third baby last year, I knew I wanted to be more dedicated to my physical health. I was tired (third baby!), my mind was foggy, and I knew I could do better. I kept a few things in mind as I set out to make my plan.
First, be consistent. For me this meant I needed to find a gym A few years ago I bought four or five workout DVDs (hi, Jillian Michaels!). I actually love them and still do them when my kids are sick (no germs at the gym), but to be consistent, I needed a place I could physically go to that would keep me motivated.
Second, make a plan. Once I found a gym (an inexpensive one, with free childcare), I made a plan. For the first few months I just ran on the treadmill, lifted some weights, or wandered around pretending I knew how to work all the other machines. Then one Saturday, I got up the courage to go to a class. Life changed. Now, I have 2-3 classes I go to each week. We drop off my oldest at school and head to the gym. I am motivated to go, because someone else is running the workout, I just have to keep up!
Third, don’t set yourself up for failure. From the nutrition side of things, I knew I wanted to make healthier choices, but didn’t want to commit to a way of eating that would leave me stressed and overwhelmed. Instead, I just made better choices for me. If we had tacos for dinner, I had taco salad. If we had a meal with rice, I ate it without rice (or I had cauliflower rice, which is surprisingly enjoyable!). I still enjoy treats and all the aforementioned things occasionally, but I was making a conscious effort to make different choices.
Those three steps were simple and easy for me to follow and over the last few months I have been fairly consistent and the changes I have noticed are significant and have changed how I feel in so many ways:
- I have a clearer mind and more energy: Now, this is not to say I never want to take a nap around 2 pm. But it has changed from, “I have to take a nap now” to “Well, I’ll just lay here with my eyes closed for a few minutes”.
- I feel stronger and am generally more confident in how I look and feel: While I have only lost a pound or two over the last several months, I feel so much stronger and feel much more confident. I think it is part the internal knowledge that I am taking care of my body that helps, and the fact that my body is getting stronger and healthier.
- More patience and generally lifted spirits: Last week as I was buckling up my kids after our gym time, I said, “Okay, do you want to go the library?!” and my two-year-old said, “No, I want to go home”. More energy then my two year old? This is for real.
- Increased motivation in other areas of my life: As I have made physical health more of a priority in my life, I have been more motivated to focus on other areas of my life. Overall, I feel like all areas of my life have improved since I have implemented this more consistent routine.
The best part about this for me is that it has been simple. These few changes have been simple, relatively easy changes and additions to my life, but they have made a world of difference for me. Can’t wait to share my future fitness and nutrition goals and plans–another half marathon is in my future, for sure!
What can you do this week to improve your physical health?