Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Health Tip Of The Week - Tips & Tricks That Keep Me On Track

There are no secrets or magic pills, when it comes to weight loss/fitness, but these things help me to stay on track.

1.  Making a weekly menu.
At the beginning of the week, I like to make my menu and grocery list.  It helps keep you on track, when you know what you will be eating every night.  You aren't coming home at the end of a long day trying to find something to prepare or running through a drive through on your way home.

2.  Not going more than 2 days without a workout.
If I go more than two days, I start to get to where I don't want to do it.  I get out of my routine, and it gets harder to get back into it.

3.  Doing workouts that I enjoy.
I have tried running for years.  I have given it months to improve, and I do get better, but I ABSOLUTELY HATE IT!!!!  I would go back to it year after year, I guess because it was such a challenge for me, and I have this thing with proving to myself that I can do something.  After about 15 years, I have realized that I should stop torturing myself.  I can do it, obviously, but why keep putting myself through it when I hate it so badly?  Just to prove I can make myself suffer over and over again?!  It just doesn't make sense to me!  I would much rather do something that I enjoy and look forward to.  Running just stresses me out.  It just doesn't suit my personality.  So, I'm gonna give myself permission to move on.

4.  Keeping a workout journal to gauge my progress.
I love weight training, so that is where I focus my attention.  I have a written log of my workouts.  Workouts that I have found or put together.  I date them, write down how many reps. sets, and weight I use.  Over a few weeks time, I can go back and see progress.  It let's me know I'm moving in the right direction, and keeps me pushing to get better.

5.  Having a weekly cheat meal.
I believe in moderation, not deprivation.  When I was in the middle of my weight loss, I allowed and planned for one cheat meal per week, and I still lost my 75 pounds!  You can't and shouldn't deprive yourself of everything.  Now, if I want something, I have it.  I don't eat it all day or binge, but I eat what I want and move on.  I definitely eat well a majority of the time, but I allow myself a cheeseburger or pizza every now and then.

6.  Preparing for sleep.
I have suffered from insomnia for 11 years.  I have a nonstop, overthinking brain.  I have to make plans for a good nights sleep.  That can include a hot bath, soft music, turning my electronics off, hot tea, reading, etc.  All those things help to get my body ready to shut down.  If I'm not sleeping than my brain isn't functioning.  I am mean, hungry, and won't workout, because I am exhausted.  It ruins my entire day!  I have to force myself to do these things, but it makes all the difference.

7.  Working out during the day, when I feel I have the most to give.
I am a night owl.  I always have been.  That's just the way my internal clock is set up.  I hate mornings!  I have no energy at all.  I will never get into a routine where I work out first thing in the morning.  Would it be easier in some ways?  Probably, but I just can't give all I have in the morning.  My strength and stamina is probably 50% less than in the evening, and I get very frustrated, because I know what I am capable of.  To get the most out of my workouts, I need to do it late afternoon or early evening.  I fought the evening workout for a long time.  Then, I realized that it is ok.  I enjoy it in the evening, I have more to give, it doesn't interrupt my sleep, and I just feel happier.  There are no set rules, and everyone is different.  Don't make things harder on yourself than they have to be.

8.  Acknowledging my progress.
From time to time, I go back and look at old pictures of myself.  It is good to remember where you started, and acknowledge all of the changes you have made.  It reinforces my lifestyle, and reminds me that I can do anything I put my mind to.

9.  Always being mindful of what I am putting in my body.
Every second of every day, I am aware of what I am putting in my body.  Whether it is a beverage, a piece of gum, or a meal.  I have a list in my head of what I have ate that day.  So many people pick up extra calories with a handful of this or that throughout the day, and they really have no recollection of doing it.  If you asked them what they ate that day, they wouldn't even remember to include it!  That leads to lots of unwanted pounds during the course of a year.  It just isn't worth it!

10.  Giving myself a break every once in awhile.
I do my best everyday, but I am not perfect.  I have slip ups or setbacks, like anyone else.  I do expect A LOT out of myself.  Friends and family describe me as "hard core," but I am like that with myself more than anyone else.  I have to remember that I am NOT perfect.  If I have a set back, I try my best not to dwell on it, fix it, don't make excuses for it, and move on!  I have to give myself permission to be human, sometimes.

Maybe some of these tips will help you with your goals.  This is what has helped me.  Everyone has their own journey and story.  It isn't a one size fits all.  Everyone has different personalities, goals, and drive.  Find what works for you, and start today!

-XOXO Monique

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