Over the last, oh I don't know, eons, I have tried every diet, fitness routine, quick fix pills and several equipments, and even several diet products that promise to make me skinny in no time flat. Some worked short term then I had to get back to reality, others just didn't work at all and for sure I figured it was the crappy product or diet plan I was on. It couldn't be me right?
Friday, February 12, 2010
Consistency = long term benefits
I have become a little bit smarter about all the dieting and quick fix programs and their false promises - basically I don't believe in strict diets nor do I believe that diet pills or quick-fix equipment work in the long run. Strict diets only work if you do them consistently for the rest of your life and that's not an easy thing to do.
I learned, the hard way, that the #1 key to success is consistency. Once you have a plan that includes eating healthy and exercising then all you have to do is follow through and keep doing what you planned to do. The best laid plans are nothing if we don't follow through.
So buying a journal, a gym membership, cute workout clothes and new running shoes and paying a trainer will not increase your ability to lose weight or get in shape or even improve your health if you don't use them. You still have to watch what you eat (and I don't mean watch it go in your mouth, I mean be aware of what's good and bad in what you eat each every meal). The gym membership is just a waste of money if you don't actually go to the gym; cute workout clothes and new shoes are pointless if you don't ever break a sweat in them. Go ahead, make them stinky - that is the smell of a hard workout.The Personal Trainer still gets paid regardless of your progress - he/she is there to lead you, teach you, motivate you and guide you - but you have to want it more than the trainer. Show up, work hard!
I'm sure, in fact, I know I have not reached the MY personal fitness goals. Not for lack of motivation, know-how, or consistency but simply because I set goals for the long term and I know that it can take as long to get there as it did to get where I am now. Funny how my body just didn't bounce back after baby number 3 and 4. What was I thinking? Regardless of the changes in my body as I
age, umm get wiser, I can't give up and blame it all on my "maturity," in fact, I work harder because it takes longer to achieve the same results. Add to that the added stress of raising kids, added stress of packing out and moving every 2-4 years due to military orders, school, work, etc..etc.
With a well laid out plan and taking into consideration holidays, kids getting sick, family visiting, etc.What can possibly keep me from getting a workout in today? Well, first my attitude can get in the way of things. If I get up looking for an excuse not to go to the gym or for a bike ride or a walk then, believe me, I will find a way and a reason why I can't exercise today. Secondly, preparation. If I don't lay out my clothes, pack my gym bag, fill my water bottle AND write on my calendar what my next day will be, it's very likely that it will be filled with a lot of things, none of which include my fitness routine.
To avoid these potential interruptions in my fitness routine I first fix my attitude, before I even get to bed. I write down what class I'm taking or how far I plan to walk/run/ride, etc. When all else fails, I call someone and tell them what I'm doing. Now there's one more person I'm accountable to. Second, I plan to succeed the next day by preparing everything the night before - gym bag, food, water bottle, clothes, etc.
OK so I have control of these two issues in my life. I can fix that. But what about the others, the unexpected or even expected events that come up. I have those days. Believe me, with four kids and a husband whose not always here, the last minute cold, tummy issue, and food spill rests on me to clean up. No matter how great a plan I had to go to the gym at 9:30 am, things happen.
It's OK to stop and do what needs to be done. Deal with the situation and move on. I can't beat myself up about it, I can't beat my kids up either -- that would be counter productive. So I have to go to plan B. We all should have one. Options: Once all the clean up is done and the child is settled or asleep, workout at home, use FitTV, ExerciseTV, YouTube, and the million and one blogs out there with easy, no equipment required fitness programs that can be done at home in a short period of time. The idea is to keep moving, do something, don't just give up for the day and call it quits.
The last minute visitors...they have a place in my healthy heart too. Either come with me to the gym or wait here, I'll be back shortly. Many of my friends already know to show up prepared, just in case we go for a long walk or in case we go to a Spinning Class. When I have overnight visitors coming and I know they're coming I tell them in advanced that I plan to go to the gym and I would love for them to come along. But if they don't want to, that's OK. Mi casa es tu casa...be back shortly. I know there are times when you have company coming and you have to prepare, clean, cook, etc.... that's different, but not so. This is a great opportunity to get the workout in around that particular visit - very early or late on the day of, or the day before or after. No one ever said we had to be working freakishly hard 7 days a week. But we can certainly plan to exercise and eat healthy before a party.
It is not difficult to be consistent with matters of the heart and health. We can consistently find time to do a great deal of things in our every day life, except taking care of #1- that usually goes to the bottom of the list. Maybe it's time we reset our priorities and put YOU back on the list as #1, permanently.