Monday, 2 January 2017

2017...believe it or not. (Part two)

Okay, so I'm organised. I've sorted through my possessions, have the beginnings of a weekly fitness plan and my laundry is well underway. Yay! So now it's time to think about actually making it happen. It's all well and good saying 'on Monday, Wednesday and Friday I go to spinning, Tuesday and Thursday Weights and ballet both evenings and yoga at the weekends' and quite another thing to get those things into practice. I'm also aware of the fact that I'm contending with about ten days of overindulgences and less than beneficial habits so I'm actually very grateful that the way the New Year has fallen means that there are bank holidays and I get another day to sort myself out before regular scheduling activity returns.

So without much further ado.

Stage three: Think about positive habits.
Kind of related to getting organised but more focused on the end goal. So for me, I want to get back to running fit this year- I'm not suggesting I take on any marathons any time soon (perhaps never- I may simply not be built for long distance) but I want it to become a habit that I stick to again. I'm at a weird period where I remember the endorphins and fun that came with my runs; being outside, taking in the fresh air and just reaping the benefits of the greater cardiovascular health; but I know the pain and lack of capacity that will come from starting again. But no matter- every expert was once a beginner. With the knowledge of your goals, you then have to think about how to make it happen. So, running- crack out the Couch to 5K app and do it. I want to make sure I have a greater variety of fruit and vegetables so produce a list of seasonal fruit and vegetables and try and increase my intake so that where I had one type of vegetable at lunch I now have two, where I had two at dinner I now have three OR take the time to find an interesting use of a vegetable so that's it's not just the same boiling, steaming, roasting that happens day in, day out. My family have decided to split meal production a bit more evenly so now my family get to experience my weird and wonderful dreams for vegetables too! (Mwahahahahaha). Drink more water, download a water tracking app or tick your glasses off on your calendar every day. (Most importantly for me) Sort out my atrocious sleep schedule. I'm writing this at 01:44...I should be in bed and I should not then be waking up at 10am (if I'm lucky) and repeating tomorrow evening. Nope. Must stop. I think it's much easier to try and do something new rather than STOP doing something you used to do and the logic is that you're actually adding something to your life rather than restricting yourself or denying the way you feel. But with the knowledge that the healthier I eat, the less I crave the things that make me feel unwell. All I need is some consistency (which is what is so great about a New Year) to let these new habits sink in and chances are I won't think about pick n mix or if I do I'll be able to approach it with the clarity and perspective I need to say 'no, you're not 15 any more. You cannot eat that without impunity and wake up feeling fine the next morning'.

Which brings me on to:

Stage four: Create a rewards scheme.
For most of us, we prefer the carrot over the stick. If you're like me (or the whole world...let's be honest now) our single most reliable reward is food. That stick of chocolate after a job well done, a piece of cake on a birthday, the unacceptable number of sweet treats that oozed from every corner of my house over Christmas given as a reward for...something. I've said it before and I'll say it again, from cradle to grave food is there. Now, if you've had an unhealthy relationship with food, like I have, food can no longer be your reward system. It just can't. Now (this can take some imagination) it is vital you find something you love that you can reward yourself with for hitting a goal or a target on the way. Not only that, you need a variety of different rewards at different levels of rewardiness to delineate between 'I went to the gym today' *well done me, I'm going to crack open the Laura Mercier bubble bath* and 'I annihilated my second tough mudder' *well done me, I'm off to the spa to have someone soothe those aching muscles*. Having these mini rewards keeps the steps along the way attainable, and when you have a longer journey ahead of you, you NEED something that can keep you going when it honest to god feels like you're just trudging along. Hard work will (maybe) eventually be its own reward but even then it can be extremely hard to see your own progress. When I was at university, progress was easy because I was surrounded by loads of people who could tell me I was looking better/ behaving differently. When I looked in the mirror and saw no change, people I hadn't seen in months would walk past me at the train station because I was that much slimmer. That's a heady feeling. It keeps you motivated even when motivation is hard to come by. Obviously when you don't have a cohort of students to inform you of your progress you need to become your own monitor and do it in an objective way. Keep a diary detailing your weight loss or your inch loss, or better even how fast you ran that kilometre or how much of a heavy thing you lifted. Write down personal bests and take stock of things that are easier now than they have ever been before. Celebrate every victory no matter how insignificant it may feel now. 

And finally.
Stage five: Be kind to yourself
I have not been very nice to myself in the last trip round the sun. Honestly, if I saw a person saying some of the things I've said to myself to any other person I'd give them a strong piece of my mind. So why can I say it to myself/ about myself? Be kind to yourself. Accept that there will be days when you're not feeling up to much or your motivation cracks and you feel bad habits slipping back in. We're only human. So, I'm going to be kind today and bring my old progress jars out of retirement. I've spent far too much time feeling like there was no point dealing with them simply because I didn't feel like pounds I'd already lost was progress. I'm going to release my jars from their prison, give them a clean because they're a bit dusty, and take all the beads back out and put my current total back in. It may not be as high as it was, sure, but it's still a hell of a lot of hard work and determination and I'm done seeing the negative instead of the positive. 

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