Staying fit is about much more than signing up for a class at the gym, completing a 30-day squat challenge or making it to the leader board in your Fitbit group. Believe it or not, it’s even about more than successfully completing your first unassisted pull-up or 20 burpees with good form. Staying fit is about resisting the urge to pull into Krispy Creme just because the “Hot Now” sign is on. It’s about not getting a big gulp soda since you were already outside pumping gas. It’s about not getting a second slice of cake just because someone said it is made from scratch. Staying fit is about the choices we make after we leave the gym and are no longer under the watchful eye of our personal trainer or accountability partners. Although I sometimes fall short, I have developed many strategies to help me along the way. Read more…
Ok, you had a great gym workout, way to go! It’s pretty easy to stay on task when following the lead of the fitness instructor or moving between weight machines and cardio equipment. What happens once you are back at home to fend for yourself? The hours that span between each gym visit can feel like a lifetime when faced with endless food choices, work and home stressors and self-defeating thoughts. Here are 7 tips to help ensure success. Read more…
I am often asked, “What did you do to lose weight?” and “how do you do it?” So now I’m asking, “Are you interest or committed?”
Interest-(n) the state of wanting to know or learn about something or someone, (v) excite the curiosity or attention of someone
Commitment– (n) the state or quality of being dedicated to cause, activity, etc.
Over the years, my interests have varied. Anyone who knows me can testify that I have also had a plethora of fascinating ideas. There was the time that I thought about becoming a bartender, or the time I considered moving to South American for a summer Spanish immersion program. I even embarked on writing material to perform standup comedy. Once I contemplated starting an online adult store. Then there was the time I researched and ordered the blueprint to build one of the first automatic car washes in my county. Oh yeah, there was also the time I was planning to sell refurbished items on craigslist; specifically golf clubs. I can’t forget about all of my sports endeavors which included practicing for an adult softball league and quitting before the first game. Or the time I took roller skating lessons with my husband and quit after a hard fall on my butt. I bought a nice tennis racket and took lessons just so we could play doubles with another couple. I could go and on, but I’m sure you get the picture. Some of these interests emerged out of a desire to be sociable and active. Others were simply the result of my entrepreneurial spirit. As with many of my interests, they all took off really quickly and with much dedication, but would soon fizzle out after a new idea emerged or a family activity would take precedent. Before I knew it, I no longer had the time or interest to continue. Now these former interests are all tucked away in my memory bank and appear when someone says “Sharon, remember that time when….,” and we all enjoy a good laugh.
A few years ago I became interested in improving my health. Initially, I joined a gym and went a couple of times. I stopped showing up for a while but continued to pay membership fees. Later I decided to go back to the gym when time allowed. I eventually joined one of their summer running groups, but pondered quitting after realizing how slow and out of shape I had become. It seemed every time I seriously considered quitting (keep in mind that these were my personal thoughts but never shared out loud) someone in the group would say something encouraging and give me a little support during our runs. However, at home, my eating habits pretty much consisted of a lot of soda and fried foods. By the end of the run group I learned about a healthy living support program also offered by the gym. With the urging of the running group leader I decided to attend. During that program, I learned more about exercise and making healthy food choices. At home, my food habits were slowly changing from primarily fried foods to alternatives such as baked and steamed. Ultimately, I began to look forward to what I initially thought were grueling workouts and began to embrace healthy new ways to eat old foods. My grocery shopping habits changed and I spent more time in the fresh produce section and less time on the frozen food aisles. I began preparing more meals at home for my family and not making a quick stop at a burger joint or fried chicken establishment. I started scheduling my workouts as a priority, just as I had done in the past with work meetings, outings with friends and other social commitments. I decided I would still workout even if a friend called to cancel at the last-minute. I would no longer arrive at the gym only to sit in the parking lot and talk myself out of going into the building. I was no longer concerned that my boobs would knock me in the face as I ran on the trail. I didn’t concern myself with how weird it may seem to someone if I wasn’t wearing perfectly matching attire from head to toe. That’s when I realized I was no longer interested in healthy living. I was committed to it!!
So the question is, Are you interested or committed to healthy living?
I am reminded of a recent conversation about the admiration that was felt for those of us with the courage to follow our passion. I often think of what could’ve been and should’ve been but I know that I owe it to myself to write a different script for my life. Courage is something that I’ve summoned on many occasions. Making a decision to change your lifestyle and become committed to healthy living requires monumental courage. Take comfort in knowing that you are not alone. It often takes much contemplation and planning to take the leap to do something different. Just know that you do not need anyone’s approval or validation, but simply the belief that you already have what it takes to get started. Now that is courageous!!
Take the first step in faith. You don’t have to see the whole staircase, just take the first step. -Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.
At the beginning of the year I embarked on a new adventure. I decided the middle of winter would be the perfect time to start a running streak. Never mind that I didn’t even know what that meant until someone posted a fitness challenge on Facebook. I learned per the U.S. Running Streak Association, you must run at least one mile per calendar day and it could be indoor, outdoor, on a track, treadmill or roads. I knew that I had just begun to train for a half marathon I was planning to run in the spring. I knew that it would ensure that I was consistent about getting my weekly runs completed. I also knew that it would assist me in maintaining an optimal level of fitness. OK, now let’s get to all the things I didn’t know but would soon learn.
- Did I mention this was the middle of winter? OK. While NC does have fairly mild temps and weather, the cold temps should not be underestimated.
- If you are going to run in winter precipitation it is probably wise to invest in a pair of shoes with added traction. They actually make shoes that make it easier to run in messy terrain.
- Running on ice is damn near impossible! I know because I almost fell several times while trying to log my run after a day of wintry mix. Luckily for me there was more snow than ice. You can actually gain traction in snow.
- Running is just as much of a mental sport as it is physical. Most of my lessons were learned on the coldest days. I really had to give myself a pep talk just to go outside.
- Although you may have a clear goal in mind and remain focused, others may question your sanity. Don’t assume that just because a friend is a runner that he or she will understand why you are doing this and not think you are a lunatic.
- I didn’t realize how emotional running could be for me. I would find myself getting really excited about getting up to go for a run and logging it the next day. I would also experience a mood change if the weather forecast had predicted precipitation since that meant I may have to adjust my running time and location.
- Running will give you the courage to face your fears. I realized about mid way that I was doing something that not even some of the most athletic people I know and admire would consider doing. Many mornings I was afraid to get up and head out in the dark and did it anyway.
- If you are deciding to run or take part in any new fitness endeavor be sure to have proper attire and equipment. My run ended at 45 days not because it was my intent but because I did not have all the necessary equipment to continue. I began on Jan 1 and ended on Feb. 14 after waking to completely iced roads in my neighborhood. My plan was to go to my local gym in the afternoon once the temperature rose. Unfortunately, before that could happen, I read a post on FB indicating they were closing early due to inclement weather. Sadly for me I don’t own a treadmill.
- I am a runner!! Others already knew I was a runner and would often refer to me as such but now I know it too!!
Yes, I am talking about my run streak. Without any fanfare or mental preparation, my run streak ended the morning I woke to a sheet of ice in our neighborhood and on the roads. Even though I have managed to run in sleet, snow and rain, I am no match for a ground covered in ice. Unfortunately for me I don’t own a treadmill. I held out a glimmer of hope once I learned the temps would rise a little above freezing as the day progressed because this meant I would be able to head to my gym. Well, so much for that, my gym announced it would be closing early. After a few minutes of hanging my head low and feeling sorry for myself, I was reminded of how much I had already accomplished and learned along the way. After all, I had only set out to make it for one month. Instead I pushed through on the days I really didn’t have the mental and physical energy to run. Wait, I can still remember the days of not having the interest or ability to run once a week or let alone daily. I feel great that I not only accomplished a goal but exceeded with my run streak of 45 days. Never loose sight of your goals!
Well, I know I was only planning to see if I could make it through one complete month of non stop running but things change. As the end of January approached I began to feel as though I was losing something I had been nurturing only to see it go prematurely. Around the same time a friend shared that she decided to embark on a run streak for the month of February. Feeling as though I may have been an inspiration for that decision I figured, well, if she going to do this for February, I may as well give it a try too. So there you have it, I am now 34 days into what started as an experiment and 30 day test of faith and will. Monday I took my running shoes indoors and completed my run on the treadmill.- 1.00mile. Tuesday I felt compel to take advantage of the weather and headed outside.- 1.23miles. Today, with rain in the forecast I thought it best to just head indoors. Today I decided to switch up my routine and head to a different gym and was looking forward to the change of scenery only to arrive and find that the internet service was down. Sadly for me this meant not having music to motivate and lift me as I tried to forget that I was running on a treadmill. I somehow was able to summons up the will and determination to make it through the run though. 2.00miles.
31 days!!! It is almost hard to believe, it has been 1 month and I have been running everyday of this new year. The last run of the month was perfect. Under a gorgeous blue sky with temps in the high 60s I ran in my neighborhood with the company of neighbors out in their yards and taking leisurely strolls. There were many days that I not only questioned why I decided to embark on this journey but also wondered if I had the mental and physical tenacity to pull it off. This was truly a test of will and strength and I am happy to say that I passed the test. 1.10 mile.
The last week of January started with a thaw from the winter precipitation. After running in the snow and ice the thought of getting back on the treadmill actually seemed refreshing. Monday I knew I needed to get in a few miles after my short runs in the snow so I managed to make 3 miles on the treadmill and I enjoyed it! Tuesday was fairly uneventful with me maintaining a mile run on the treadmill each day. Wednesday I kicked it back up a notch and got in another 3 miles on the treadmill, ok now I was ready to get back outside again. Thursday I was really just needed to focus on keeping my run streak alive and quickly head to the pool to work on other challenges. 1.00 mile Friday, I thought about going outside but since I knew I would be headed out on Saturday for my long run I was content with running on the treadmill and heading to the pool. 1.00 mile. Although I had been looking forward to getting back outside for a run, it seemed that Saturday arrived almost too quickly. Just as I remembered, early Saturday mornings still felt desolate and cold. For a moment I questioned if I would even go on an outdoor after my run group began to fall apart just minutes before the run. Just as I sat in the lot deciding what to do, a new friend decided to return and join in the run. Three of us decided to brave the cold but I was the sole runner for the day as the other two ladies decided it was better to walk. I knew this may be somewhat difficult to do alone and on the one day that I forgot to bring my gloves. Once I turned on my tracking app and music I was able to use the end of my shirt sleeves as makeshift mittens. After traveling the same route four times, voila it was over. 6.50 miles.
Today was treacherous! Once the sun decided to return I no longer had the safety of the snow padding the ice. Today the run felt like a game of ice dodge ball and I just wondered at what point I would get tagged by the ice covered asphalt. Through it all I remained focused and kept my game face on. Moving much slower than yesterday I somehow managed with the help of my digital assistant and music to complete my journey through the neighborhood. 13.50 minutes later. 1.00mile done.