Thursday, July 26, 2012

The Proof is in the Pudding

Coming back from vacation can be so depressing for so many reasons.  #1 You are no longer in your version of "paradise", #2 You are most likely back to work, and #3 You have to get back into the swing of things. I honestly think that #3 is by far the most difficult.

While at the beach, I decided to give myself a cheat week. I ate whatever, whenever...even bought cookies at the grocery store (terrible idea). I figured, what's one week? I've been extremely dedicated to health & fitness for a long time, this is my VACATION time to have some fun!  It wasn't until I came home that I realized WHY I have been altering my lifestyle and HOW MUCH BETTER I have felt since doing so.

To begin - the sugars. Sugar is awful, I'm putting it out there now. I was drinking Nestea, Seagrams, eating those damn cookies, etc. and when I went to mind was telling me that I needed more! The cravings were unreal; now I know how pregnant women feel with their cravings. Let me tell you, I NEVER utilize the vending machine at work.  The one day I felt like someone trying to quit smoking, snapped, and ran down and got Little Debbies (oh the shame I felt afterward..and the stomach ache).

See, what you don't realize prior to moving toward a more healthy lifestyle are the benefits that come with the lifestyle. When I am eating clean, I feel clean. I feel light, I feel amazing, my mood is constantly up rather than flip flopping all over the place - I just feel better.  I feel ready to take on the day.  Eating crap for a week made me feel like crap. My mood was all over the place, I never felt full - I always wanted more food (which also was detrimental when I returned)..I just felt like garbage because I was filling myself up with garbage.  Truly - you don't realize how food is a fuel until you switch it up on yourself.

Last week was a huge challenge for me. I was craving sugars, fatty foods, etc. I was in the habit of coming off the beach and grabbing a cookie, so I'd come home from work and grab something to eat. I was not in a routine, and to be honest...part of me felt like such crap that I didn't even want to get back into the routine. I didn't want to run, I didn't want to workout. And this went on for days. One week of "letting go" caused a lot of damage, in my opinion.

HOWEVER, much of the fitness aspect of your life is a mind game. It is always mind over matter whether you are lifting, running, or doing intense cardio training like Insanity. Your mind gives up far faster than your body does, and the trick to overcoming those things (and in my case getting back on "the wagon") is to overcome yourself.  So each day I took it little by little by adding in physical activity again, and cutting out crappy foods. Finally, on Sunday, I utilized my Beachbody Meal Planner and went grocery shopping. It was really weird how a full cart of fresh fruits and veggies made me smile (who knew!)  From there I made myself prepare in advance. I chopped veggies, created my little snack bags of healthy snacks so I could grab and go throughout the week, set aside the dinners for each night and mentally prepared for the week ahead. This week I've been getting out there and working out each day, and while some days I might do better than others, I know I'm back on the path to getting to where I was prior to vacation.

Sometimes we need to kick ourselves in the ass - if I'm going to be blunt about it. Too many times we look towards others as a crutch..we search for someone to tell us to do something, but what we really need to learn how to do is to put on our big girl panties and tell ourselves what we HAVE to do. Your journey is doesn't belong, nor should it be determined, by anyone else. If you want to allow yourself to slack, then have fun being a slacker; but if you want to see yourself succeed, then even on the worst of days you need to climb back up in that saddle and try again...and again.....and again, until you get it right.

Here are some great resources if you would like to start finding some clean recipes:

Beachbody Meal Planner  Simply sign up as a Club Member and you are on your way to a customized weekly meal plan that take out what you don't like, chooses the healthiest of options for your calorie consumption AND creates your shopping list AND organizes it into sections of the grocery store for easy location. Seriously - it doesn't get any easier than this!!   There are a TON of yummy recipes on this site. My husband is very picky and would be happy eating steak every night, and even HE loves these recipes!  Always a great resource to find information on health/nutrition/exercise

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

The Power of Planning

WHOOOOOOOOOA! It has been a while! I am so sorry to keep you waiting, but between the new product announcements from Beachbody and my upcoming (now past...sigh) vacation I was BUSY!

Anyone who knows me knows that I am constantly on the go and busy - constantly. Not a day goes by that I have "nothing to do"...and if I find myself with nothing to do, I am scheduling a meeting with someone or spending some quality time with friends and family. That being said, planning to do ANYTHING can be difficult at times (just look at my lack of planning for blog entries recently!)

I feel like, for someone like me, your goal is to plan. You sit there and say, "I'm going to map this out. I'm going to strategize. I'm going to budget this trip. I'm going to plan, plan plan." But do you ever fully plan? I guess the question is, can you ever really plan? And if you can - do you stick to your plan?

I find this amazing sense of calm when I get to stick to a plan that I made for myself. A while ago, I posted about running down in West Virginia. I planned the entire 10 mile day, plus the swimming afterward..right down to what Subway sandwich I was going to get. And you know what? I did everything and had a great day. Planning was KEY!

That's why it's so important to adequately plan your day in advance. When you plan out what is going to happen, you know what to expect, are prepared, and feel accomplished at the end of your day. I know some people are shaking their heads saying, "I prefer to be spontaneous" and who doesn't?! You are looking at the Queen of Randomness right here, but if I have a lot to get done in a small amount of time - I've gotta plan.

The easiest way that I have found to do this is through Google. That Google Calendar is the best damn thing ever. I synced mine up to my iPhone, my iPad, etc and it simplifies my life in ways that I cannot explain. You want to color code activities? Done. You want to set yourself reminders? Done. You want it all in one place? Done! I-Love-It.

Now, planning isn't takes practice and many times of "falling off the wagon" in order to get it right. And like I said, sometimes it's hard to stick to the plan..but I find that when it is in front of me that it is much more simple than if I just "think about it". Not to mention, its a great way to keep communication open with your spouse! My hubby and I are constantly on the move between our careers and sometimes it's hard to remind someone when you will be missing dinner because of a meeting, or when they won't be available to take the dog to the vet. The Google calendar, being synced with the iPad at home, fixed that problem for us! Now he can make entries, and I can make entries, and we can have this great picture in front of us of what our week looks like.

The key to planning is to stay open to alternate routes. I always keep spots of time available in case something comes up last minute. Similarly with my tasks, I never number them 1, 2, 3...I start with 3 because that way I know that I have 2 spots open in the event that someone has an emergency that needs to be completed in the office. 

Try it! Try mapping out your week just once and see what you accomplish. Set time up for everything. Have you been meaning to clean out your car? Schedule an hour of time to do that in your week somewhere and watch how much more likely you are to complete it than if you just left it in your mind as "something you'd like to do today". Goooogle...

Planning is powerful, people.  Plan on!