Fitness is my life. Or perhaps I should say that fitness is my paycheck. I am one of those lucky people who get paid to exercise and to exercise other people. I have been a personal trainer and teaching exercise classes since the days of Elaine Powers and Jane Fonda. I am also lucky to say I still love my job.
But that does not mean I look perfect or feel perfect; I will always battle the belly bulge and I sometimes get stuck in a fitness rut. I even have days when the last thing I want to do is sweat.
And this summer I got mentally off-track as well. I’ve been trying to sit down and write this article for weeks. Labor Day was the writing deadline I’d given myself. That was several weeks ago and, unfortunately for you, my topic was How To get Back On Track.
I had never even intended to take the summer off from writing. I just kept not writing, each day. Now, two months of todays later, I’ve somehow finally resuscitated the part of my brain connecting my fitness ideas to my keyboard. I have no idea how. Unfortunately for me, I am clueless when it comes to helping MYSELF. Of course, I can offer complete marathon-length discourses on how YOU can help YOURself. Does anyone sense some disconnect here?
Anyway, here are some excuses — I mean personal and family experiences — I’ve dealt with this rollercoaster summer, not particularly first-hand nor in any particular order: Biking, Surgery, Vermont, Adult Summer Camp, Paris, Cancer, College, Foreclosure, Praying, Swearing, Sweating, Crying, College, Dancing, Laughing, Falling Down, Getting Up, Drinking, (remember these are not in a particular order), Senior Year, Insomnia, Menopause.
Did I mention College. College College?
So if you, like me, have slipped into bad habits or let yourself off the hook day after day, whatever the reason, you still can recover momentum after a break.
Here are my top ten ways to do it:
1. Accountability – Start making yourself aware of all your fitness and dietary habits by tracking them. A few great internet options are MyFitnessPal.com or Lose It! App for smart phones. They are both thorough and quick and sobering as well as addictive! Also research has proven again and again that people who track their eating are the biggest losers, literally.
2. Organize you Morning – Prepare everything the night before. Lay out your workout gear and pack your gym bag. Plan your meals and if possible, have them prepped and waiting for you.
3. Eat earlier – Make your biggest meals early in the day. This will prevent you from pigging out at night and helps your metabolism burn those calories before hitting the hay.
4. Clear out the Crap – Why test your will power unneccesarily? If there is leftover pizza and that IS YOUR WEAKNESS THROW IT OUT! Half a sleeve of girl scout cookies? Ditch them. Don’t think, just pitch it. I used to have a girlfriend who would eat her fill of her restaurant dinner and as soon as she felt slightly full, she would pour pepper all over the remaining food on her plate. Crazy, but effective to prevent overeating.
5. Find A Workout Buddy - Even if it is your dog, commit to finding someone who is waiting for you at a preplanned time. If this doesn’t work, Hire a personal trainer. There’s nothing more motivating to get you out of bed than someone ringing your doorbell. And you lsing money if you don’t answer.
6. Set Goals - Pick a big event in your near future, a reunion or a birthday and set a weight loss goal. Or pick a road race and start training for it.
7. Stay Psyched – If you find yourself losing interest in staying on track, reward yourself with a massage or a new pair of running shoes. New lycra has magical powers that wear off after 3 washes.
8. Close the Kitchen – Pick a time where the kitchen is off limits. Turn out the lights, make a family service announcement. THE KITCHEN IS NOW CLOSED. If you can do this for one week you will notice that night-time eating is a habit that will recede if you stop heeding the call.
9. Aim for Daily Exercise - Of course there will be days where you miss it but if you aim for it every day and put it on your calendar you will at least end up with a solid 4 or 5 days of movement.
10. Give up the Booze - Getting on the wagon is the quickest way to lose the bloat. Not only will you save the extra calories,your willpower will be stronger to resist forbidden foods and your hunger will be more moderate.
Again, like I said, I am good at giving this advice.
Good luck with your self.