I’ve been thinking a lot about my thoughts on health, fitness and self-acceptance since I read a Kate Winslet quote on body image — you can read my thoughts on body image here. I’ve realized that being thin isn’t as essential to me as it was when I was younger, mostly because I’ve accepted the fact that for me, being thin would require more sacrifice, deprivation and time than I’m willing to commit. This hasn’t been an easy fact to accept; being a confident curvy girl in a metropolitan area that values thinness and fitness so highly isn’t exactly easy, but in the end, I suppose it’s all about learning to value and believe in yourself, regardless of your jean size. But even if being thin is no longer as important to me, being healthy and fit is. I want to feel, strong, balanced and attractive because I think these are important components of overall wellness. I’ve definitely gotten a bit off-track in the last couple months and miss the energy and confidence I had when I was really taking care of myself.
After my breakup this past November I started making some small changes in my life that really made a big difference and helped me feel more organized, more in control and more satisfied with my life than I’d ever felt before. These included:
1.) Making to-do lists. I love crossing things out. Sometimes I’d even add things I’d already done just so I could cross them out and feel more productive.
2.) Making my bed. You wouldn’t think this is a big deal, but for the most part, it kept the mess from spiraling out of control. And coming home to a nice, organized room does wonders for your peace of mind.
3.) Keeping a food diary. I hate the idea of doing this because I find it so tedious and I hate to focus so much on food, but there’s no denying that when I was tracking I was definitely more aware about what I was eating. It was easier for me to know if I was getting enough fruits and vegetables, dairy and protein, and it also helped keep me accountable…no stealing chips from someone else’s bag and pretending it didn’t happen.
4.) Doing exercise that made me sweat. I’ve been pretty lazy about exercise most of my life. I don’t mind walking or biking, but when it comes to tough cardiovascular workouts that make you sweat I haven’t exactly excelled in the past. But up until a few months ago, I was doing great: I was doing Zumba, hiking every weekend, running on treadmill and sweating it out on the elliptical at least a five times a week. Then I just stopped. I kept up the walking because I really enjoy it and it relaxes me, but I think that if you are trying to lose weight — and want to survive on more than lettuce and celery sticks — you have to do something a little more hardcore.
5.) Going to bed at a decent hour. When I was losing weight quickly and feeling really good, I was going to bed by 10:30. Nowadays it’s more like 12:30 or 1am. And I’m not staying up doing anything productive…mostly I’m checking Facebook, e-mails, G-chatting, etc. I have some kind of internal alarm clock that won’t let me sleep in past 6:30, even on weekends, so I know I’m definitely not getting enough sleep.
6.) Embracing naps. I usually feel like I’m wasting time if I nap because in my mind, napping isn’t productive. But there’s nothing like a short afternoon nap to reenergize you and make you more productive in the long-term.
Slowly but surely, I’ve gotten away from these things over the last few months, but today I woke up feeling more motivated than I have in a long time. Maybe because it was finally sunny after several days of torrential downpour and I could actually get outside. Anyway, I made my bed, put together a healthy breakfast (plain yogurt, honey, diced peaches, granola), downloaded a to-do list app, a pedometer app and a food diary app and put on my jogging shoes. It was a beautiful, summery morning — warm, humid, green, just like summer should be — and I decided that even though it wasn’t Monday (I love starting things on Monday), a Tuesday was as good a time as any to go on a walk/jog to train for that 5K I’m planning to run later this summer. It was the slowest jog known to mankind — turtles were passing me — but I felt great afterwards! I need to remember that feeling next time I’m feeling unmotivated.
So I know exactly what I need to do to get back on track and now I just need to be consistent. Which is really the hardest part about the whole thing. Otherwise, the world would be brimming over with over-achieving, successful people.