Change the Habit

When you try to start a goal or change a habit where do you start?  Is it written in the sacred book of the goals “Thou shalt ONLY start lifestyle changes on Monday’s and no other days before it”?  I haven’t seen this magical book-o-goals before but I have heard some things consistently that makes me think it must be out there.  Heck, I have even parroted out some of the popular phrases.

Perfect Example
“I will start my diet/training/exercising on Monday.”  Why?  Why are you waiting until Monday?  Monday is by far one of the least liked days of the week.  Why make it harder by trying to tack on changing a lifestyle habit?  There are internet meme’s dedicated to the suckiness of the day! I say decide what you are going to do and do it.  For example I go to the gym Monday, Wednesday, Friday and I run Tuesday, Thursday and either Saturday or Sunday (weekends are long runs).  I am so not perfect.  Life happens and sometimes I miss a day or screw up a whole week BUT I don’t wait for Monday to fix it.  If I missed Wednesday’s workout well then I know Thursday is for running.  I don’t have to WANT to do it I just have to do it.

“I have to get in better shape before going to the gym.” …… You see those dots?  They are my puzzled expression that you cannot see.  People go to the gym to get in better shape!  Sure there are people there who are in really good shape.  Or in moderately good shape or just in better shape than me BUT they didn’t (most likely) get that way by working out at home until they felt they reached the magical ideal to be at the gym.  There isn’t a bouncer at the door who is going to stop you “No, ma’am I am sorry you can’t come in.  Your gym clothes are last season and you aren’t the type we want here”.  This isn’t an exclusive club.  It is the gym.  It smells like metal, sweat and often times, protein farts.  There are people sweating, grunting and lifting heavy items.   No one who matters is judging you for being at the gym as you are.

“I don’t have time.”  This is MY hang up.  It’s super hard to fit all the things in the day.  I need to get in exercise and get a good night’s rest.  There is also kid activities to tend to, family life to enjoy, grown up time to enjoy, chores and responsibilities.  All of these things vying for my attention.  It can be so overwhelming I cope by taking a nap.  Which, surprise, isn’t helpful in completing tasks.  I have to make it as easy as possible and as little intrusion on my family life.  That means I get up with the birds during the week and sneak out of the house to squeeze in that workout.  When I do it this way, no matter how crazy and stressful my day becomes I don’t have to add fitting a workout to my list, it’s done.  I can go home after a long of work, play with the kidlets and go to bed at a reasonable time.

“Eating healthy/at home is so expensive.”  Yea, sometimes it is.  But if you were to honestly figure out the cost of a healthy meal you made at home vs. something you have purchased at a restaurant or the drive-thru you could see the cost to benefit ratio. If you invest in some staple ingredients you can make quite a few meals without having to make a giant shopping trip.  I think the biggest rub of home cooking is it takes time.  There really isn’t a way around that.  Either you spend the time in your car and waiting for a stranger to make and bring you food OR you make it yourself (or if you are lucky enough to have a significant other that likes to cook you whine at them).  Either way the time is spent.  I hate cooking so I am very susceptible to making drive-thru excuses and exceptions.  But the feeling afterwards is never worth it.

These all take effort and dedication.  I slip, fall and fail way more regularly than I would like to admit but I get up and try again.  Sometimes I have a good old fashioned hissy fit about how unfair it all is and then I can continue on.  My goals now are better than my excuses.  I will start on Monday….and continue every day of the week with something.  I have to be in better shape for the gym….so I better get in the gym.  I don’t have time….I better find some.  Eating healthy at home is so expensive….I better invest myself.

Always invest in you.  After all, you have to live with yourself forever.

A Strong, fit

I am watching American Ninja Warrior last night (which is quite enjoyable. Equal parts of motivating and disheartening for my progress) and something peaked my interested. A lady was competing and as she started out the obstacle course she stated "I am going to be the first mom to make it up the warped wall" Which got me thinking, 

Why does motherhood not parallel with fit, strong women?

Motherhood changes you. I get that. We get rounder and softer. That is the way that it is supposed to be, but that doesn't mean that once we are moms we can no longer have a fit body. Here is the real kicker! Its not our bodies that pose the biggest hurdle. Its our head. Just like we are designed to get wider and softer for babies, we become martyrs!

Kid is sick? Gym can wait. Field trip? Gym can wait. Kids want pizza? Easy enough. Husband has a work dinner? They're serving pasta? Well, I don't want to be rude...

No one has more reasonable, viable excuses not to get fit than mothers. Last year this picture caused a substantial amount of upheaval. Women around the country were up in arms. "Whats my excuse? Excuse me? I got it. What was my excuse? That my last baby was over 11 lbs? Yeah, but that was 9 years ago. How long am I going to ride that out? That my son has seizures, so I need to be here for him... but hes at school right now?

The struggle of being a mom is one of the greatest challenges. Everyday that I take some time to put my needs first, even for an hour-- I become a better mom. When I exercise. My kids exercise. When I don't fold and eat pizza my kids aren't eating pizza. How are we to decipher the line between being selfish and self care? As women we are biologically designed to be the care takers, if there is only enough of something for one person our child's needs come first. This holds true for me, my kids ALWAYS need something. I have spent over a year justifying to myself why going to the gym and having a trainer isin't a fair decision for my family. Until my son said his favorite thing to do with me is watch TV. His favorite memory with me is sitting on the couch, staring at a picture that involves no communication, no excitement and no growth. 

Its hard to focus on ourselves, and the cliche saying holds more truth for moms (or any parent, really) than anyone else. We cant take care of anything if we are not taking care of ourselves. No one likes a crazy, unhappy, frazzled, mom. I look at my time with the trainer as a gift to my kids and my husband. Even if emotionally I am not ready to own that just taking some time to struggle through a few squats and dips is a gift to myself.