How Do I Stay Motivated to Eat Healthy and Exercise?

Since becoming a personal trainer, I hear this from many of my clients: “I know what I changeblvdshould do.  I know what I should eat.  I know that I should exercise regularly but I just don’t do it.  I don’t know how to stay motivated.”  When it comes right down to it YOU are the only one who can make the choices for a healthier lifestyle.  The trick is to take the “willing mind” and turn those thoughts into actions.

First and foremost, if you are eating poorly and living a sedentary lifestyle you will not be able to change overnight.  If you think about it, you probably got to that point gradually (perhaps over a number of years) and you won’t go the other way in a heartbeat.

  1. Pick your one most unhealthy habit.  Maybe you drink soda at every meal. Work on changing that habit gradually.  Should you pick a “give up soda” day and quit cold turkey?  NO!  You will probably feel deprived, give up in a few days, beat yourself up for failing and not try it again for months.  Instead, pick the meal that you could most easily swap out a soda for a glass of water, and then do it.  Don’t change anything else about your diet until you start noticing results from that action.  Now, swap another soda for water and repeat. Write down what results you are seeing (more energy, a small loss on the scale, better sleep). Refer to this list if you start to waver.
  2. Add some exercise.  If you are a total couch potato, are you going to go to boot camp?  Again, NO.  Add some light exercise.  Fifteen minutes each day is fine. Walking is fine.  The important thing is to set that time aside and DO IT. When it starts feeling easier and when you start seeing benefits, add a little bit more.
  3. If you mess up, that’s all it is.  The next day you get a clean slate and you get back to business.  It is not time to give up and go back to the “old you”.
  4. Get someone else to hold you accountable.  Tell them what your goal is and ask them to check in with you at regular intervals. It’s a lot harder to blow off your workout and eat six donuts if you know you will have to tell your accountability buddy it happened.
  5. Try something new.  It’s always fun to try something different and it can keep you motivated.  Find a cookbook full of healthy recipes.  Cooking Light’s Complete Meals in Minutes is a great place to start.  Ever tried Yoga, kickboxing, Zumba, kayaking or circuit training?  The list could go on and on.  Sign up for a class or find a good DVD.  Just remember to build up to this kind of exercise (see #2)
  6. Make it social. Share your experiences (both successes and setbacks) with others.  Find a workout partner, post about your journey on Facebook or on your blog, start or join a support group, take some healthy meal prep lessons.  There’s nothing better than getting healthier except making new friends while you get there.
  7. Challenge yourself.  You may not think you will be able to ever do a push-up from your toes or run a whole mile, but if you take it one step at a time you CAN! When I did 90 days of P90X the thing that motivated me the most was seeing my ever increasing number of repetitions on my chart as the days went on.  Check out challengeloop.com to find a challenge that will keep you going!

Research shows that if you do something for 30 days, it becomes a habit. If you trade that ONE soda for a glass of water and continue for 30 days, you will soon wonder why you ever wanted a soda. Before you know it, you won’t want any other beverage but water and all that soda and extra calories will be a distant memory.

Now I will challenge you! Post the one unhealthy habit you would like to change here. What is your plan is to change it?  Tell me.  Putting your goal and your plan in writing makes it real and that’s motivating too!

Color Me Rad 5K in Pittsburgh

This past Saturday, my sister and I decided to have one last hurrah before the summer ended.  We signed up to walk in the Color Me Rad 5K in Pittsburgh.  For all you 5k lovers, here’s a rundown of what it was like.

This 5k is not really for serious runners. A quote from the promoters info. packet said “we don’t even own a clock”. It is for anyone who wants to come out and have a healthy, fitness oriented party  without the alcohol.  We arrived at 7:30 a.m. The music was already pumping and the promoters were whipping the crowd into a frenzy.  At the start line, there was more music while color packets and t-shirts were being shot from a gun.

We started in waves every 10 minutes (at least 100 people to a wave) and this went on most of the day. There had to have been at least 10,000 people at this event. We were a sea of white when we started, but at each of the color stations, volunteers dubbed the “color bomb squad” blasted you with colored cornstarch powder or a water/powder mixture.  On this warm day, the water stations were welcome relief. The course was very hilly (another drawback for serious runners, no PRs here). It  was crowded so sometimes you had to stop and wait your turn to go through a color station. This didn’t bother me at all since all the Pittsburgh hills were giving us a good workout. I even saw a former student in the race.  I don’t know how in the world she recognized me with a rainbow of colors all over me, but anyway here’s a shout-out to Amy Mack!

At the conclusion of the race, you got your own color packets to bomb people who were still finishing the course.  Our “after” pictures are quite colorful. If you ever do a CMR run, make sure to bring old sheets or towels to cover your car seats.  You will not be a happy camper if you don’t! They remind you to bring some in your pre-race packets.

It was touch and go getting out of the parking lot. There were not nearly as many folks directing traffic on the way out as there were on the way in.  This is a problem the promoters say they will work on for next year’s run. Back at the hotel it was scrub-a-dub-dub to get all the powder off before heading home to Central PA. On Sunday we soaked our tie dyed clothes in vinegar and ironed them to set the colors.

This was a fun way to end our summer for sure.  In the fall Pittsburgh is hosting a Zombie run.  Hmmm… Have you participated in any out-of-the-ordinary 5ks/runs? Fill me in!

Freedom Run 5K Southport, NC

My second 5K walk, the Freedom Run 5K  in Southport NC. I started doing 5Ks to give myself goals for my exercise and fitness  efforts. We vacation every year at Sunset Beach, NC. Over the years members of my family have participated in the 5K, but I had only done the one mile fun run a few times. This was the year I wanted to walk the entire 3.1 mile course. When my sister (Nancy) and niece (Lindsey) found out we were walking, they decided they would enter and run/walk the course together. My nephew, Ben also decided he would run.

The race stepped off at 8 so we had to leave the beach house at 6:30 a.m. (toothpicks for eyes please) to get to Southport. Nancy and Lindsey rode with us and I enjoyed listening to Lindsey’s excited chatter all the way there. This was her first 5K too. It was a super hot day and humidity was at 90% so we prepared by hydrating on the way.

When we got there it was off to warm up. We were excited to take pictures before the event. Ben was hardcore so he wouldn’t pose for any pictures (sorry young ladies, he’s a cutey) because he was really into his warm-up.


We lined up for our pre-race instructions and then the starting gun, no, make that a CANNON went off. We were part of a record number of over 400 participants. Our times were recorded by a high techno strip on the backs of our numbers. Bob walked with me for the first mile and then he decided to jog it for the next two miles. I walk too fast for his pace, but he runs too fast for mine so it worked out best this way.


I got into my power walking pace and thoroughly enjoyed the scenery and the people I interacted with. It was nice to walk near the mouth of the Cape Fear River and feel the ocean breeze cooling me off as I went. I crossed the finish line at 45:02, almost the same time I posted for the Train Wreck Trek. Pretty good considering the extreme heat. Here’s how everyone else did:


Ben: 16th overall and third for his age group with a time of 19:33. He won a pottery bowl crafted by a local artist.

Lindsey: 34:45 Nancy: 35:00 Bob: 37:08

If you are ever in the Southport, NC area over the 4th of July and want to run/walk in a fun 5K, give the Freedom Run a try. Were you there on June 30? Tell me your story!

– Posted using BlogPress from my iPad

 

Exercise and Fitness: My first 5K

My niece, Mackenzie, sister Nancy, friend Brian, me, hubby Bob

I did my first 5K over the weekend. I decided to do 5Ks to give me extra motivation to exercise. Since I don’t like to run, I planned on brisk walking. The day dawned sunny and cool, a great day for a distance race. Hubby and I got to the starting line early. Good thing because our registration I sent weeks ago must have gotten lost. They didn’t know anything about us! We had to quickly re-register before race time.

The mood at the starting line was excited. Everyone was buzzing. After some brief pre-race instructions the gun went off and we were underway.

We started out at a good pace and moved up to the front of the walkers. We were keeping the last of the runners in our sights. The first two miles went smoothly. By this time the runners had made the turn and were coming back so we had to walk single file. During our final mile, hubby asked if I was ready to turn it up a notch. I said sure and started race-walking. He couldn’t keep up unless he jogged slowly. I didn’t know I could walk that fast. We passed a few slow runners. In the end I almost came in 3rd place for my age group (it was a small race). The woman who finished in front of me was RIGHT in front of me.

I had a great time and I will enjoy walking again in the Freedom Run/Walk in Southport, NC.

– Posted using BlogPress from my iPad

Online Fitness Coaching: 5K Prep Two Weeks Out

Happy Memorial Day weekend. Hope this post finds you enjoying some great outdoor activities. This weekend starts the gardening season where I live. Saturday morning meant a trip to the greenhouse to pick out some new perennials and annuals.

Gardening is  great exercise! Bending, stretching, lifting, and walking. There is also something very satisfying about digging around in the dirt. Even though it took me all day (I had to dodge two thunderstorms) to get the flowers in, I got it done and they look great now.

This morning hubby and I went to early church so we could get a 5K walk in before it got too hot. We will be walking in the Train Wreck Trek 5K (I hate to run) on Saturday, June 9. We did the course we will be walking for the 5K. It’s flat and shady and will be good for the runners to PR. This will be my first one so it will be my base time. Today we walked about 17 minute miles at 3.5 MPH

Hubby on the Train Wreck Trek trail.

I’m looking forward to doing this 5K. I would never run one but I can hardly wait to walk it.

– Posted using BlogPress from my iPad

Online Fitness Coaching: Walking My Way Through a 5K

I’ve done a lot of blogging about setting goals when making your fitness plan.  Helping people set goals is a big part of online fitness coaching.  I feel like it’s time for me to set a new goal for myself.  I’m feeling the need to have something new just over the horizon to get ready for.  If I have an event coming up, it will help me keep working out and staying in shape.

So….this summer I am going to sign myself up for two 5Ks.  One is called the Train Wreck Trek and it is run on a railroad bed (no rails anymore) in the tiny town of Reedsville.  The other one is in Southport, SC.  It will be held over the Fourth of July Weekend.  Unlike most folks who take part in 5ks, I will be walking.  I am just not a runner, but I love to walk.  I haven’t done anything of this length since I use to take part in the 12 mile walk-a-thons for hunger in the 70’s.  Yes I have just dated myself!

canine walking buddy
My daily walking buddy, Mocha.

My usual fitness routine is weightlifting 3 days per week, cardio twice a week and an ab rountine once a week.  I walk my dog almost every day for at least 20 minutes.  I spend an hour or two each week ballroom dancing.  I am in pretty good shape so I don’t think I will have any trouble walking a 5K.  I do want to start getting a long walk in once a week.  I need to get a baseline time and see if I can improve on that to be “race ready” in June.

Success!  My goal is now in writing and I have told others about it.  It’s your job to keep me accountable!  I’ll be updating with posts on my progress from time to time.  Have you ever walked a 5K?  What tips do you have for me?