Happy New Year! It's that time when many of us pledge to do better, to be better, to look better, eat better…. LIVE better. I tend to find the first weeks of January annoying: can't get a bike at my Tuesday spin class because the “resolutioners” are in full force; way too many dieting program commercials on tv; annoying overheard snippets of conversation about how many calories are in this or that; people out running on “my trails” who I've never seen before…. Ugh. Usually, by February, my world is back to normal as the “resolutioners” fall back into the crowd, promises forgotten. And I can go about my routines.
This week, however, one of my SBMAT friends pointed out that while the crowded gym can be a hassle this time of year, we all started somewhere. Shouldn't we encourage the “resolutioners” and others around us, instead of grumbling about their presence? Shouldn't we see what words we can offer that will inspire the will to keep these promises into March and beyond? Yes, I thought. Yes we should. I should. I will.
*just so we're clear, I don't strictly believe in numbers/weight for healthy body… Magazines tell me at 5’10”, I should be 150/155. Hahaha! No way! So much depends on how you look and feel, not a number. That being said, there is a such thing as a number on the scale that's just crazy!
Around this same I saw this picture, taken at a wedding on NYE 2010:
|I hate this!|
What the hell? Who was that girl? I was a Division I swimmer for godssake! (I hate this photo. It's embarrassing to me, and I'm sharing it now to demonstrate my point.) And that did it. I vowed to enjoy my pregnancy for those 9 months, enjoy my milkshakes and treats… But come maternity leave, I had some major work to do.
So resolutioners, my New Years resolutions to change came not on January 1, but January 22, 2011… Followed by implementation of the plan on October 7, 2011, six weeks after childbirth. It was not easy, and required patience and persistence, but it got done over the next 8 months… And continues today. I found what worked for me, what motivates me to keep moving… It's not the same formula for everyone, but there is always something that can be done to make changes for a healthier you. (For example, in January 2012 I tried a Zumba class, just to do something different and find something that I'd enjoy… It was a total fail. I sucked at it, and just couldn't make it work for me. My two left feet didn’t help matters… But I did try it)
Which brings me to:
Friends, here are some truths revealed. I have heard many friends and facebook friends say “I could never do what you do.” Or, “how do you have the time?” Or “you are so motivated.” Let me be real here: it's not easy. I have slumps and lows too… And I'm certainly not as smiley as my race photos may seem all the time on this journey.
I thrive on routine…. I always have. Always. That's why having races on the horizon works for me: because I can make a plan and schedule… The tighter the schedule, the more motivated I am. I have been this way since I was a kid with swimming and schoolwork. I'm like that now with work and kids and life and training… The less time I have to “flounder” the more effective I am.
So a break in my routine, a change or an “end” to a particular routine (I.e. End of training for a big race), is tough on me. I get lazy with exercise, and about the food I eat… Correction, how much food I eat. So while taking two weeks off of work at Christmas was much needed, my structure suffered. And I couldn't stop eating large amounts of food… On top of the total feast the entire month of December was anyway with at least five office related lunches. All delicious, all full of an overwhelming amount of food.
I did run over the break, but reluctantly. And then I would follow up the run with yummy treats and lots and lots of wine with friends. Low moment confession: I was hiding in the kitchen from the children last week, eating the glorious Buckeyes my friend made for me when Julia found me and asked what I was eating… “A cucumber,” I replied. Yes, I lied to a three year old so she wouldn't eat my buckeyes… So I could eat them all and not share.
And so on New Years, when everyone was discussing resolutions, I stepped on my scale and saw what I already knew… I messed up. I slipped… Was slipping… And I needed to find my will again. Again not that the number on the scale was so important, but I could feel it, and the scale just verified that.
It's frustrating, and discouraging, but I know it's not permanent. I went for an easy five miles today, and reminded myself of the goals I've set this year. I remembered my teammates at SBMAT and what they do to deal with life, training ruts and eating binges.
And I recalled that work resumes Monday as does my routine…and I will thrive with it once again. Setbacks are all part of it. So make your resolutions… And if you break it, don't walk away. Call it a “setback” and start again. Resolutions can be made and remade all year through.